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Part 8-The Textfile

WEDNESDAY

The next morning, the chaplain came in and said, “I’ve come to pray for Grayson again because I believe God is working on his behalf and I want to praise Him for it.

Kathy came in before going to work and joined in the prayers with Anna and the chaplain.

The elderly man in white also raised his hand over Grayson from the doorway.

As they were praying, Grayson’s eyes opened and he sat up.

He then spoke to the chaplain and said, “Hold on pastor, I need you to perform another ceremony for me and Anna.”

He then held Anna’s hands and said, “I know we’ve only been together seven days, but seven is a divine number of perfection and while I was in the coma, I had constantly thought how we need to get married, to be right in The Lord’s Eyes.”

Anna looked out the door and the elderly man in white nodded once more and then Anna kissed Grayson and said, “Of course I’ll marry you! There is an old gentleman who kept visiting me in the hospital and he also said we need to get married and he said other encouraging things to me, like seven being a divine number of completion.”

Kathy said, “Come to think of it, an old gentleman in white also told me while I was walking near the morgue and he said how there was no more room in there for anyone else.”

The chaplain then said, “Countless other loved ones of patients have seen him too, but the security cameras show no footage of him.”

They all stared at each other with joy and amazement…

Back to “The Textfile”

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Part 7-The Textfile

TUESDAY

The hospital chaplain came in waking Anna up. He invited her to hold hands with him as he prayed over Grayson. As they were praying, the elderly man in white stood by the door, then winked and smiled at Anna, also raising his hand to pray with them. Anna went to eat a breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon in the cafeteria.

She went back to the chapel to pray for Grayson. The elderly man in white also came to the chapel and said, “I know you’re going through a lot right now, but it will all turn out all right. Remember, God’s got this!”

“Who are you?” Anna asked.

He simply placed his finger on Anna’s lips, to which she felt a great comfort, then walked away.

Anna went to the cafeteria to eat a lunch of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

She then went sit next to Grayson once again and held his hands.

The elderly man in white walked into the room and said, “You and your boyfriend will indeed have a long life together, but you need to get married to him.”

“How do you know all this?”

Once again, he placed his finger on Anna’s lips to which she felt great comfort.

The doctors came in and examined Grayson.

“How is he?” Anna asked.

He shows many good signs and he could wake up any day now.

The elderly man in white looked in from the corridor and nodded, then left.

The nurses and doctor continued their treatment.

Anna watched silently.

She stayed by Grayson’s bedside until it was time to eat dinner.

Anna went to the cafeteria to eat another serving of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Kathy came in and spoke with the doctor and nurses.

When they told her that he could wake up any day now, she smiled then told Anna, “I’m having a better time trusting you, because you haven’t left this hospital, but you’ve stayed by his bedside, so you must truly love him.”

“I do.”

“And you’re definitely wife material if he indeed survives.”

“Thank you!”

The elderly man in white looked in the door and gave a thumbs up to Anna.

Kathy stood over the bed and talked to Grayson for an hour then left to go home.

Anna then went to sleep in the recliner.

Back to “The Textfile”

Part 6-The Textfile

MONDAY

Grayson and Anna woke up in each others’ arms to the beeping of the alarm on his G-Shock.

They heard raindrops falling against the window-pane and saw the flashing of lightning.

Anna became nervous as she said, “I’ve got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.”

“Don’t worry, Anna, you are safe.”

“I guess you’re right.”

They finished dressing, then both went eat breakfast of Cherry Pop-Tarts and milk.

Grayson then made two turkey breast sandwiches for lunch and placed a can of Wild Cherry Pepsi in his lunch cooler.

Grayson placed his Snap On pocket knife and his Pelican 1920 penlight in his right pants pocket and his smartphone in his left pants pocket.

Anna took her smartphone, purse, and backpack, then they walked to Grayson’s truck.

Grayson opened the passenger door for Anna then helped her in.

He then got in on the driver’s side and they drove to school in the rain.

They quietly held hands for the entire ride, but then they arrived.

Grayson parked his truck then opened the door for Anna and helped her out.

They shared a very sweet hug and kiss, to which Anna told him, “I love you, Grayson.”

“I love you too, Anna and I always will!” Grayson replied.

Anna walked into school as Grayson watched her safely enter.

He then got back in his truck and drove to work.

Anna was the first student at school because Grayson had to be at work for Six A.M.

Grayson texted Anna of his safe arrival at work, then clocked in.

Jed McGregor said, “We’ll be quite busy today. The dock crane is messed up. You’ll have to get on top to make repairs, and you will need one of the roustabouts to assist you.”

“Aw, durn it!” Grayson under his breath but then got to work.

He went to his locker and retrieved his tool satchel, then went to the dock foreman and explained the situation.

The dock foreman replied, “I’ve already got a volunteer lined for you.”

The crane was stuck in the “UP” position and the repair had to be done at the very top.

Grayson secured a safety belt around his waist and climbed to the top.

The roustabout followed him up doing the same, carrying the parts and tools.

“Let’s get this job knocked out as soon as possible,” Grayson told the roustabout.

“It’s you who will be knocked out-permanently!”

“Hey man, what’s your problem? Why are you making threats like that?”

“I don’t appreciate you taking Anna Ryan away from my church and now you must pay.”

Grayson keyed up his two-way radio to report the potentially violent roustabout, but the roustabout also had a radio and jammed the signal. Grayson tried to climb down but the roustabout blocked him. He then unhooked Grayson’s safety belt causing him to fall and hit the ground.

Grayson fell about twenty feet onto the grass and went into a coma.

His penlight and pocket knife fell out of his pocket which the other longshoremen and roustabouts gambled over. His smartphone was crushed upon impact.

Jed McGregor called an ambulance and had Grayson rushed to the hospital.

Meanwhile, at school, Anna was in class until the principal called her to come to the office with her belongings.

Anna walked into the principal’s office wondering what was she called down for.

Mrs. Barbara was waiting near the door and said, “I’ll be praying for you, Anna.”

Mrs. Barbara also listened in on the conversation.

She walked in and was immediately confronted, “Anna, I have a fellow student claiming that your boyfriend pointed a gun at her. Is that true?”

“Yes, it is true. He pointed the gun, I didn’t.”

“Why did he point the gun?”

“Because she was harassing him sexually and she threatened bodily harm to me.”

“Well, regardless, a threat was made and I have to suspend you until this is further investigated. You have to be removed from the campus.”

“Can I call my boyfriend to pick me up then?”

“Yes.” The principal then handed her the office phone.

Anna dialed but it went straight to voicemail.

She tried again.

“Is there a problem?”

“His phone goes straight to voicemail.”

“I have to call your parents then.”

“But they don’t have a car to pick me up and I don’t have my bicycle.”

“I still have to contact your parents.”

“But I’m not staying with them anymore.”

“Still that is whom I must contact.”

“Please don’t”

“It’s either you call your parents or I have you arrested. You cannot legally be on this campus until this matter is fully investigated.”

“Can I just walk home, then?”

“No.”

Anna began to shake and hyperventilate.

Thinking quickly she took her purse and asked, “May I use the restroom, it’s that time of the month.”

The principal rolled his eyes and escorted her to the bathroom.

Once again, she hid her smartphone in her underwear, then came out.

The principal then escorted her to the office.

Her dad was then called while he was working at the church office.

“Mr. Ryan.”

“Hi. I’m the principal at Anna’s school and she needs to be picked up from campus. Her boyfriend threatened another student with a gun and she cannot return to school until she is no longer considered a threat.”

“I’m coming to get her right now and I will deal with her, good day.”

Sean told Brother Darryl, “It looks like our prayers have been answered. Anna was suspended from school and we have to pick her up. Where will we get a vehicle?”

“I’ve got connections.”

Brother Darryl called his cousin and said, “I need a ride. Can you meet me at my church?”

“I’ll be right there.”

Sean and Darryl waited in the church office.

Finally, the van pulled up.

“Where are we going?” Darryl’s cousin asked.

“I have to pick up one of my church members from school, she was suspended.”

“Let’s go.”

Sean, Darryl and Darryl’s cousin drove to Anna’s school.

Upon arrival, Sean stepped out of the van and walked to the office.

He saw Anna and gave her an angry stare then showed her his belt.

He then gripped her arm firmly and discretely walked her to the van, not realizing Barbara McGregor was recording them on her smartphone.

“Get in right now!” He said.

“I thought it was a sin to ride in a vehicle.”

“You’re already going to be getting the beating of a lifetime and it will be much worse if you question me or anyone else. Now get in.”

Anna was shoved into the van and it drove off to the church.

Darryl began shouting at Anna, “You thought you could get away from us didn’t you? You thought you could shack up with some heathen and get away with it? Well, now divine judgement is about to fall upon you and has already fallen on your boyfriend.”

“What did you do to him?”

“You will soon find out, now don’t talk again!”

Barbara called her husband Jed and explained the situation to him and told him to get in touch with Grayson. He then explained to her that Grayson was in the hospital because he sustained a fall. Jed further explained the details of the fall to his wife and they mutually agreed upon foul play. She then sent the video to her husband’s phone to which he called police.

An APB was put out for the van, to which it was soon pulled over.

The officer drew her gun and walked to the van, ordering Darryl’s cousin to step out.

He exited and the officer began to search the van.

Anna shouted, “Help, my dad and my pastor are kidnapping me. They are going to beat me if you let them go.”

The officer drew her gun pointed it at Sean and said, “You can let her go or I can put some holes in you.”

“All right, she can go, but God is going to deal with you for persecuting…”

“Shut your mouth and let her go. NOW!”

“Fine!” Sean said angrily.

“Everyone out of the van and hands where I can see them.”

Sean and Darryl were arrested.

The officer then explained to Anna, “Sorry I didn’t mean to scare you, I just had to follow procedure.”

Anna nodded while sobbing.

“Do you need to go to the hospital?”

“No, I need to get to my boyfriend.”

“How old is he?”

“Twenty-two.”

“And how old are you?”

“Eighteen.”

“Yes, I can take you to him, but first, let’s get a statement from you at headquarters.”

Anna nodded.

A backup unit arrived and took Darryl, Darryl’s cousin and Sean to jail.

The female officer then took Anna to the police station where she gave a statement.

The detective explained that Grayson was in the hospital from a fall and he suspected foul play. The detective then gave the name of the roustabout that caused Grayson to fall, which Anna explained how he had constantly hit on her at church and she turned him down, therefore he could be jealous of Grayson. The detective had a uniformed officer drive Anna to the hospital and then guard Grayson’s bedside.

Anna rushed up to Grayson and spoke to him with tears in her eyes, “I love you so much, Grayson. Squeeze my hand if you love me too.”

Immediately, Grayson squeezed Anna’s hand.

“I don’t ever want to lose you, Grayson!” Anna said, then continued, “Squeeze my hand if I won’t ever lose you.”

Grayson squeezed her hand once again.

“My dad and my pastor are in jail now and justice will be served against that creep who made you fall.” Anna paused and then said, “There is a cop guarding your bed around the clock, so you are safe now. Just focus on getting better.”

Kathy then arrived in Grayson’s room.

Sternly, she spoke to Anna, “I know your church and your dad put Grayson in danger and now he is seriously hurt. I’ll have trouble trusting you, but I know you didn’t hurt him so just pray for him and both of us. I cannot lose him, he’s all I got left and he reminds me so much of my husband whom I also lost, so forgive me if I get cross with you.”

Anna nodded.

Kathy walked to Grayson’s bed and said, “Hang in there boy, we need you.”

Grayson’s eyes blinked slightly.

Anna saw Grayson’s eye movements and said, “That’s a good sign right.”

The doctor and nurses came in and said, “We’re going to give him some more treatments I suggest both of you go to the chapel and do some fervent praying.”

Anna and Kathy walked to the hospital’s chapel and they knelt and prayed.

They prayed until Kathy said, “I have to get back to my shop and secure everything. Why don’t you get some food?”

She then handed Anna a $100 bill.

Anna walked to the cafeteria when an elderly man in white spoke to her, “Remember, seven is a number of perfection and divinity.” Anna seemed to be comforted by his words.

Kathy was passing by the hospital morgue, overcome with anxiety, when that same elderly man spoke to her, “This place is full and it cannot hold anyone else.” He then touched her shoulder to which she felt a great peace.

Anna went to eat a lunch of red beans and rice in the cafeteria, then she went back to Grayson’s room. Anna talked to him throughout the day to which he would reply by squeezing his hand or moving his eyes slightly. At dinner time, she ate some more red beans and rice in the cafeteria. She sat in the recliner near his bed and held his hand as the doctor and nurses treated him around the clock. Anna then slept in the recliner.

Back to “The Textfile”

Part 5-The Textfile

SUNDAY

Both Grayson and Anna woke up with the need to relieve themselves and went to separate bathrooms. After they were done, Grayson looked out the window and realized the sun hadn’t come up yet.

He waited by the other bathroom door for Anna to finish up.

After hearing the toilet flush and the sink turn on, he saw Anna step out.

Grayson threw his arms around her and said, “Let’s go sit on my front porch swing and watch the sunrise.”

Anna kissed him and said, “I’d like that.”

So they stepped out on the front porch and sat down on the swing.

It was slightly chilly in the early morning air, so they sat very close to each other, trying to keep warm.

The sun was slowly coming up and Anna said, “It’s so beautiful.”

“That’s because it is shining on you and is getting inspiration.”

Anna kissed Grayson’s cheek as they sat in blissful silence.

After the sun was fully up the temperature became a little warm, so they walked back into Grayson’s cabin.

Anna said, “These past few days have heavily inspired me to write many things.”

Grayson pulled up his swivel chair and replied, “Well here, use my computer and write. I cannot wait to see what you come up with.”

“You’ll, of course, be my source of inspiration, Grayson,” Anna said, kissing him.

“I would hope so.”

“I know so.”

“Well, I’ll make us some breakfast. You write.”

Anna nodded then kissed Grayson once more.

Meanwhile, at the Pentecostal Assemblies Church, gossip was going non-stop and everyone was wondering what Darryl Crocket would be preaching about.

All of the congregation, including Anna’s parents, were taking their seats and Darryl Crocket was walking up to the pulpit.

With a microphone in hand, he began to speak, “Folks, we live in some very sinful times. Last Friday, a member of my flock has left the church to go live with some sissy heathen. I witnessed this first hand that evening in the mall. I was shopping for a new suit when I saw our own Anna Ryan shopping for sinful underclothes and making out with this very wicked young man, named Grayson Thomas. One of the older black women in the auditorium fainted. Darryl paused and then said, “It gets worse than that church: You see, I tried to talk Anna into coming with me, but she refused. This Grayson Thomas then threatened bodily harm to me and to also have me charged with kidnapping. I had no choice but to back down. However, we need to develop a strategy to take Grayson out of the equation and get Anna back, no matter how much force is needed.”

“Amens” were shouted throughout the auditorium.

“Does anyone know how we could be able to rid ourselves of Grayson and get Anna back to this church?” Darryl Crocket asked.

A young black man spoke up, “I work with that heathen in the dockyards. He has an easy mechanic’s job, while I have to bust my butt every day as a roustabout. Maybe I could somehow get him fatally injured on the job and make it look like an accident. We would be doing the Lord’s work by taking Anna back and sending that heathen to hell where he belongs.”

Several “Amens” were shouted throughout the auditorium a second time.

An older man said “Here’s what you need to do: Sabotage the dock crane’s motor, way at the top, then call up the foreman to put in a repair order. Once Grayson Thomas comes to repair the crane, offer to assist him and go up there. He will need a helper to assist him with his job. Once both of you are up there, you can do something to make him fall which will either kill him or at least make him permanently disabled to where he won’t be a lover to Anna ever.”

Once again, several “Amens” were shouted throughout the auditorium.

The service then went on for several more hours with the congregation further elaborating the details of their plan.

Meanwhile, back at Grayson’s cabin, Anna was finishing up on her fantasy. She saved it to her flash drives as well as Grayson’s hard drive.

Grayson and Anna ate breakfast of scrambled eggs, pork sizzlers and bacon together then she read her latest story to him.

Both were smiling and blushing and soon were full of affectionate emotions.

“I wrote this because I am so much in love with you Grayson.”

Grayson sat and read.

After finishing, he spoke to Anna, “I was so touched by it. It makes me long for not just your beautiful body, but your heart as well.”

“You already have my heart Grayson and if God allowed it, you would have my body as well, believe me.”

“I don’t want to offend The Lord, but I could give myself to you as well, Anna.”

“They began to kiss passionately and were soon on their way to the bedroom, when the phone rang.

Grayson saw that it was his mom’s house number, so he went to answer it.

“Hello.”

“Hey. I would like to make a Sunday dinner for Anna, so can you ask her what she would like and I’ll make it.”

“Hold on just a second.”

Grayson covered the mouthpiece of his handset and asked Anna, “My mom would like to cook a Sunday dinner for you and will fix anything you ask, so what would you like?”

Anna replied, “Some chicken fried pork chops and steamed green beans would be nice. I could even help her cook them.”

“I’ll tell her,” Grayson said, then spoke into the phone, “Ma, Anna would like chicken fried pork chops and steamed green beans.”

“All right, I’ll be glad to make that for her.”

“What time would you like us over?”

“Six Thirty.”

“Oh. Well, Anna said, she would like to help you make the dinner.”

“Then cross over, but what are you going to do while we cook?”

“Oh, probably just sit in the living room and read on my phone.”

“All right. I will see both of you in a few.”

“Bye, Ma.”

“Bye, Grayson.”

Anna then asked, “Are we crossing over?”

“Yes. Let me just get my stuff,” Grayson replied.

“Good deal.”

Grayson got his penlight, phone, and charger off of his night table, then he escorted Anna out of the cabin, locking the door behind them.

Hand in hand, they walked to his mother’s house.

Upon arrival, Grayson knocked on the back door and his mother greeted them.

She welcomed them in and Grayson went sit down in the living room, plugging his phone into a receptacle.

Anna went and Kathy went into the kitchen and began preparing the meal.

Kathy took a bag of previously frozen pork chops from her deep freezer, then placed them in lukewarm water of her sink. She then walked to the utility room and opened a wicker basket filled with fresh-picked green beans, then said, “You must be blessed and highly favored, because green beans are being harvested right now, and I have some fresh ones that a customer gave me straight from his garden. We just have to snap them, though.”

“That was nice of him,” Anna said.

“Well, you know I am in the antique business and I was able to locate for him a piece to his old garden tiller that would have been otherwise impossible to find. He told me that I would get the first of all his produce he grows this year because I saved him a lot of money.”

“So you blessed him and he blessed you.”

“Couldn’t have said it better myself.”

Kathy then put the basket of green beans on the table and brought the garbage can from under the cabinets near and said pointing to it, “Just put the tips in here.”

Anna nodded and they began to snap the green beans.

As they were snapping, Anna said, “All the women at the church I go to would do this many Sundays in preparation for the church dinner. And, would they ever gossip while doing it.”

Grayson then shouted from the living room, listening in on the conversation, “You see that, I’m not surprised, not in the least. They are a bunch of hypocrites. Paul wrote to the early churches telling them to refrain from gossiping, but they pick and choose what scriptures to believe anyway.”

Kathy rolled her eyes. Anna giggled.

They continued removing the tips from the green bean hulls.

Kathy then asked Anna, “How did your family wind up at that church anyway? I mean I thought it was a black church.”

“It’s a mixed church, but there are more blacks than whites.” Anna paused, then continued, “I was eating out with my parents one Sunday and they met the preacher while waiting to be seated and he invited us to his church. He sure did a number on them though, because they sold their house in the city and moved into a run-down trailer so they could attend that God-awful church.”

Grayson again shouted from the living room, “Your parents can’t be too smart if they fell for that idiot. I could see that Darryl Crockett was a phony from the get-go and I am much younger than them. Of course, they were smart enough to make you though, so I have to give them some credit.”

Anna smiled from ear to ear and laughed out loud.

Kathy whispered to her, “Please don’t encourage him, it’s not good when he runs his mouth like that.”

Anna continued laughing silently.

Kathy whispered again, “I know some of the stuff he says is indeed funny, but a lot what comes out of his mouth is highly inappropriate.”

Anna whispered back, “I love him so much, though.”

Kathy replied, “I loved him first, remember that. He sure is a handful, but I’m glad he lives next to me where I can keep a watchful eye on him.”

By this point, there were only a few unsnapped green beans remaining.

Kathy then asked, “So, I’m curious to know, how did you meet Grayson anyway?”

“It was really on a spur of the moment, I decided to enter the bar and grill on my way home from school. I saw him sitting at the bar, drinking beer and thought he was so cute. He reminded me of all the good characters I write about, just all rolled into one. I pretended to sneeze and caught his attention the rest is history.”

Grayson once again shouted from the living room, “If the people at her former church knew exactly what she wrote, they would probably beat the daylights out of her and ceremoniously burn all of the notebooks and flash drives that contain her work and they would roast a hog over that fire.”

“Grayson Michael Thomas! Stifle yourself this instant!” Kathy shouted cutting off Grayson in the middle of his sentence.

“Yes ma’am.” Grayson said sheepishly.

Anna whispered to Kathy, “He’s right though, you know.”

Kathy whispered back, “Yes, I know he’s right, but he’ll get himself killed one day if he runs his mouth like that in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

All of the green beans were now snapped.

Kathy went to the refrigerator and took out a stick of butter and three strips of bacon.

With a pair of kitchen scissors, she snipped the strips of bacon into quarter-inch squares. Then she took the butter and placed it in her pot with the cut-up bacon. Afterward, she went to the Lazy Susan and got Sugar, Garlic Powder, and Onion Flakes and added them to the pot.

She lit her gas range, placed the pot on top, then said, “Anna, stir that mixture with a wooden spoon until it is slightly caramelized.”

Anna nodded, then began stirring.

Kathy then took the pork chops out of the lukewarm water and began to tenderize them. After pounding them thoroughly, she sprinkled a Garlic and Herb seasoning mix onto the pork chops, then poured some vegetable oil in a frying pan and placed it over the other burner. She then lit the burner and began to coat the chops with flour and egg yolk.

The mixture the pot had now become caramelized, so Kathy took the green beans and dropped them in.

Anna asked, “Do you want to boil them or steam them?”

“What do you think?”

“Well in FACS class we were taught that steaming is healthier.”

“Vegetables taste better too when steamed,” Grayson chimed in once again.

“Well I guess we shall steam them then,” Kathy said.

“All we have to do, then, is add a little water to the pot now and then and also stir the mixture.”

“Did you learn that in school?” Kathy asked.

“Sure did.” Anna replied, then poured a quarter cup of water into the pot and stirred.

“I doubt she learned it at church, they probably just deep fry everything in pig lard over there.” Grayson chimed in.

Anna silently giggled and nodded.

Kathy rolled her eyes.

Anna took a kitchen mallet and tenderized the pork chops.

The oil in the frying pan was now hot, so Kathy dropped the pork chops into the oil.

Anna added some more water to the green beans, then stirred them again.

Grayson walked into the kitchen and said, “Wow something sure smells good.”

“Go back into the living room, Grayson. You can come back when dinner is ready.” Kathy said.

“I just want to see Anna, I miss her.”

“I’m not going anywhere, Grayson.”

“I would hope not, but I still want to see your pretty face.”

Anna blushed.

Kathy went outside to water her plants.

“I want to kiss you so badly, Anna!” Grayson said.

“Well hurry up and kiss me before your mother gets back.”

Grayson lifted Anna up and she wrapped her legs around him. Their faces met and their lips passionately locked. They rubbed noses then Anna petted Grayson’s thick beard. Grayson rubbed Anna’s sides, then she pulled his face into her breasts. Grayson became highly aroused.

Suddenly they both felt convicted and Anna said, “If we go any more, it will be a sin.”

Reluctantly, Grayson said, “We need to pray for an escape route.”

Both silently prayed but stared into each others’ eyes.

Within seconds, Kathy came in from watering her plants.

Grayson and Anna were still lost in each others’ eyes as Kathy cleared her throat.

Grayson walked back into the living room.

Anna added more water to the green beans.

Kathy flipped the pork chops, then whispered to Anna with concern, “I hope Grayson respects you.”

“He sure does and is such a gentleman, but he isn’t stingy with his affections either.”

“I would like to think I raised him right.”

“My parents never show any affection towards each other and I was always afraid I would wind up in a cold marriage like that, but so far Grayson has always cherished me in every way. I know it happened very fast, but that is one of the reasons why I fell for him as I did.”

“My husband, God rest his soul, would always show plenty of affection to me, even in front of Grayson. He wanted, I guess, to set a good example and for Grayson see us loving each other. Seeing Grayson kiss you like that reminded me of how my husband loved me. He would be proud to know that his son is doing the same thing.”

“What did he die of?”

“He was killed in a car accident on his way to work. There was a dense fog advisory issued that morning, but he was so adamant about getting to work on time.”

“What was his job?”

“He was a maintenance electrician for the City of Melody.”

“How did you meet him?”

“He was a sophomore in high school and I was working as a check out girl at The West Side Grocer. It was Spring break and he had just come back from a fishing trip with his guy friends and they were buying some supplies to fry the fish. He couldn’t stop smiling every time we made eye contact. My heart would skip a beat when he smiled at me, because I thought he was so cute. And then, the next day, he even applied for a grocery bagger job just so he could work with me and, well, he quickly won me over. I was twenty six and never married nor had a boyfriend either, but he seemed very special, actually more special than any other young man I had ever come across, though he was just barely sixteen. I wanted to wait for the right one to come along, and believe me, he was definitely worth the wait. We would secretly meet each other just to have time alone together then we ran away and got married as soon as he turned eighteen. My parents were first leery of him, until they realized that he truly loved me and then my dad taught him how to be an electrician, after he found out that we were expecting a child. He picked up the electrical trade very quickly and took very good care of me and Grayson. I miss him terribly to this day.”

“Was he saved?”

“Yes. And thank God, because I’ll be able to see him again when I die. I preached the Gospel to him myself when he said how he loved me and I was so elated when he believed. I had feelings for him too, by that point, but I knew I couldn’t be unequally yoked. He then began to study the Bible with me. He told me how much he loved me and could not picture life without me, but how he also wanted to honor the God who loved him enough to save him, then he proposed to me with his senior ring. My heart was swelled with joy and I agreed to marry him, so that’s what we did on his eighteenth birthday. It happened to fall on a Saturday, so we went to the Justice of the Peace and then he moved into my apartment with me, all while he was still in high school.”

“That is so sweet. My dad is two years older than my mom, but that’s all I know about their romantic life.”

“You said they never show any affection to each other.”

“Yes, and it is very depressing because I was always afraid I would be arranged to such a marriage.”

“Well, if Grayson is anything like his dad and I think he is, he will shower you with non-stop affection.”

“I think he will too.”

Kathy the flipped the pork chops once again. The breading had now turned a healthy golden brown.

Anna checked the green beans and said, “I think just a little more water and they’ll be done.”

Anna added a little more water and covered the green beans.

Kathy measured the temperature of the pork chops.
All three had a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. She turned off the burner took them out of the frying pan and placed them on some paper towels to drain. Afterward, she discarded the spent cooking oil.

Anna tasted one of the green beans and said, “I think its tender enough.”

Kathy tasted another one and said, “I think you’re right.”

Anna turned the off the other burner and Kathy then began placing the food on plates.

“Should I go get Grayson?” Anna asked Kathy.

Kathy nodded.

Anna walked into the living room and approached Grayson from behind.

She covered his eyes and said, “Guess who?”

“The most beautiful girl there is!” Grayson replied.

Anna blushed then faced in front of Grayson and kissed him.

He kissed her in return and began to play with her long hair.

“Lunch is ready, Grayson,” She told him.

“Oh, good. I’m so hungry.”

“Well let’s go eat.”

“Right behind you.”

Grayson and Anna walked into the dining room where Kathy had placed the plates on the table.

Grayson pulled out a chair for both Anna and his mother, Kathy.

He then sat as his place. Afterward, they said grace then began to eat.

“Wow, this is amazing!” Grayson said as he wolfed down his pork chop and green beans.

Anna smiled.

“I’m glad you enjoy it, but you shouldn’t eat so fast,” Kathy added in.

“I eat fast because I enjoy it and I can’t get enough, though.”

Kathy rolled her eyes, to which Grayson said, “I’m really blessed; I’ve got two wonderful ladies who cook for me!”

Anna blushed again.

Kathy then said, “You take after your dad because you can butter me up just like he did.”

“Of course I take after him-he produced me!”

“And I carried you for nine months, Grayson,” Kathy added in.

“I know. I take after you too. Where you think I got my dirty blonde hair?”

“You do act like your dad though-he’d be proud.” Kathy paused, then continued, “I’m proud too, because you have his work ethic.”

“And he treats me better than I ever dared hope or dream!” Anna added in.

“Oh your dad would be proud to hear that too!” Kathy said.

They finished eating, then Grayson cleared the table and placed all the dishes in the dishwasher.

“Why don’t we go watch TV?” Kathy asked.

“Sure,” Anna replied reluctantly.

Grayson and Anna went sit on the couch and Kathy sat in the recliner.

Kathy turned on her television and cable box, which was tuned to Fox News. Immediately she changed the channel.

“Why’d you change the channel?” Grayson asked.

“Because I don’t want to hear your colorful commentary,” Kathy replied.

She turned on The Science Channel which was playing a marathon of “How It’s Made” reruns.

They watched until it became dark outside.

Grayson looked at his G-Shock and said, “Well I have work tomorrow and Anna has school.”

“Yes, both of you go home and get some rest,” Kathy said.

Grayson and Anna left Kathy’s house and walked to his cabin.

They walked in and began to get ready for bed.

As they were climbing into bed, Grayson asked, “I’m sure you would want me to drive you to school tomorrow, Anna, right?”

“Of course,” Anna replied, “I’d like to show you off to everyone, but I can’t because public displays of affection aren’t allowed at my school. So just drop me off and give me a discrete kiss while inside your truck.”

“Everyone is going to be shocked when they see you dressed differently.”

“Let them be shocked, I don’t care.”

“I cannot wait until we can be intimate and it would be right in God’s eyes, Anna.”

“I know, me too.”

“Until, then, just know that I love you and I always will.”

“I love you too!”

They shared an intimate kiss then fell asleep in each others’ arms.

Back to “The Textfile”

Part 4-The Textfile

SATURDAY

Grayson and Anna woke up face to face in each others’ arms. As their eyes opened, their lips met.

“How did you sleep last night?” Grayson asked Anna.

“Wonderfully. I can’t remember the last time I slept that well.”

Grayson then hugged Anna tightly until she said, “Oh please let go, if you squeeze me anymore, I’ll wet your bed. Let me use
the bathroom then you can hug me all you want.”

Grayson instantly let go, then gently kissed her forehead.

Anna walked to the bathroom and relieved herself.

After Anna flushed and was running the water to wash her hands, Grayson shouted, “Now I have to go-I’ll use the main bathroom.”

Grayson walked out of his room and up the hall, then entered the bathroom and he too relieved himself.

After he flushed and washed his hands, he walked back to his master bedroom and saw Anna sitting on the bed, still in the clothes from the night before. He was extremely turned on.

He stared lovingly at Anna, to which she giggled.

Part of him wanted so desperately to make love to her, but the
other part wanted their relationship to be right in God’s eyes.

Soon he had a look of distress on his face from the conflict in his heart.

Anna noticed and asked, “What’s the matter, Grayson?”

“I want to love you and know you and I mean to know you in the
Biblical sense of the meaning, but I also want our relationship to be blessed by God.”

“I think God would understand if we became intimate before we were married, especially given the whole situation.”

“But I want our wedding night to be special too, however, another part of me is powerfully attracted to you. When you mentioned how you would wet my bed if I squeezed any tighter, all I could think about were your womanly parts and it made me desire you that much more.”

Anna giggled, then kissed him.

Grayson continued, “I love you so much, Anna, and I know in worldly terms that does warrant intimacy, but I revere you too and I revere our relationship and want it to honor God.”

“I won’t ever pressure you for sex, though I very well could have sex with you in a heartbeat, Grayson. Honestly, I’m touched that you’re such a gentleman and it makes me fall for you even more.”

They kissed again.

Grayson looked at his G-Shock.

It indicated 11:30 AM.

Grayson said, “I think, as long as we’re not alone together in a
private place, except to sleep, we’ll be okay, so for now, why don’t we go have fun. There is a park along the waterway not far from the docks where I work. We can spend the day there and hang out. I can show you all the tug boats, tow-boats, freighters and barges that travel on the waterway.”

“I guess we can go there, but I’d go anywhere if it meant we could be together.”

“What should I wear to this park?”

“How about that pink shirt with those blue denim overalls? You
would be so durn cute if you wore that!”

“Good, then, that’s what I’ll wear.”

“Now what would you like me to wear?” Grayson asked.

Anna looked through Grayson’s closet and pulled out a dark brown pair of work pants. She then found a white Oxford shirt and pulled it out as well, then said, “Wear those, with that newsboy hat and those work boots you have! It looks vintage, I guess, but I appreciate your old fashioned values. God, I never thought I’d hear myself saying that!”

“You realize it’s 2017 and not 1917, right?”

“You realize how I was brought up? I appreciate vintage fashion.”

“You’re right, I’ll put them on.”

Both got dressed, then the stepped out of the cabin and walked to Grayson’s truck.

Grayson opened the passenger door for Anna and helped her in.

“You still want to get the door for me even though I’m not wearing a skirt for you to peek under, I know I’ve found someone wonderful,” Anna said as she kissed him.

Grayson gently rubbed her face and kissed her in return, then said, “I’ll always get the door for you because it’s the right thing to do for such a lovely lady as yourself!”

Afterward, he walked to the driver’s side, entered then started
his truck.

They drove to the park and Grayson stopped his truck right on the waterfront, with the bed facing it.

Grayson stepped out, then helped Anna out of the passenger side and said, “We have a wonderful view of the waterway traffic, I hope this doesn’t bore you though.”

“No, it’s better than sitting in my room studying for hours on end. That’s usually what I did on a Saturday.”

Grayson then unlocked the tailgate and they climbed into the bed of his truck.

Anna cradled Grayson in her lap and they stared at the waterway.

A plate steel freighter slowly passed by.

Grayson and Anna waved at the crew, to which the captain sounded it’s horn.

“That’s headed for the steel works a few miles east of Melody,
they’re going to be building a ship with all that steel.”

“That’s interesting. What kind of stuff goes through the docks
where you work?”

“Mostly machines and petrochemicals are sent out and crude oil comes in. Now at the big port in Blues City, there’s that but also coffee, cocoa and vanilla beans, all kinds of fruits come in from other countries and they send out a lot of grain. They send out and also receive all kind of finished goods to and from other countries. I guess it makes the world go round.

“What are finished goods, exactly?”

“Like televisions, radios, smartphones, and computers that come in from the Far East. Our country sends out hand tools, guns, ammunition, and machinery.”

“Cool, I didn’t know that. You’re so smart!” Anna said as she
kissed him.

Grayson blushed, then continued to lay his head in Anna’s lap

Suddenly, he heard her stomach begin to growl.

The noise got louder.

Finally, he looked up at her and asked, “Are you hungry, Anna?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll get us something then, there’s usually a food truck somewhere in the park. Come with me and I’ll flag it down.”

Grayson helped Anna out of the bed of his truck, then they walked around the park looking for the vending truck.

Finally, they saw it and Grayson flagged it down.

A foreign man opened the window and said, “What’ll it be?”

Grayson looked at Anna and asked, “Would you be all right if I got us each a turkey sandwich and an ice cream sundae?”

“Sure,” Anna said as she smiled with slight hesitation.

“Two turkey breast sandwiches dressed and the largest sundae you can make.”

“Fifteen fifty.”

Grayson handed the man a $20 bill and was given change. The crew then filled their order and handed them the food.

They walked back to the Grayson’s truck and began to eat the
sandwiches.

Afterward, they ate the ice cream sundae.

“I’ll take the banana’s and you can have the cherries.” Anna said.

Both blushed afterwards.

“There’s another cherry I want you to have.” Anna said, then
giggled and covered her mouth.

“Believe me, I’ll take it, as soon as we’re married and there is a
banana I want you to have as well when that time comes.”

“Is it fresh or was it already peeled by someone else?”

Grayson blushed and said, “It’s totally fresh. Nobody ever wanted me until you. Why do you think I went through so much depression and drinking. It’s only by the Grace of God, that no other woman or girl ever made a pass at me while I was drinking in a bar-room.”

“That’s very hard to believe, as handsome as you are but I’ll
believe you because you always been up-front and honest with me.”

“If there was ever a time I didn’t regret being a twenty-two-year-old virgin, it’s now, because when we do make love, it will be very special-assuming you are too. I’m almost sure you are.”

“Of course I am, how else could I give you that cherry I am talking about. Anyway, my parents were so strict with me, but this moment and our wedding night will be the only times I don’t regret my strict upbringing.”

Grayson and Anna shared a very special kiss then and finished off the sundae.

In the distance, a tug boat with six barges was making its way through Melody. As it got closer, Anna asked, “What’s all those black rocks?”

“That’s coal. It’s probably headed to a power plant.”

“I thought coal wasn’t used anymore.”

“It’s no longer widely used to power ships or trains, but it is
still very much used to generate electricity, despite all stupid those regulations from bureaucrats in the state capitol as well as Washington D. C.”

“You sound sexy when you fuss.”

“Well all those crazy regulations do is kill jobs, I sometimes wonder about my job’s security if the city docks lose too much business. Of course, heavy equipment mechanics are needed almost everywhere no matter what.”

Anna rubbed Grayson’s face and said, “Well my mom is forbidden to work and my dad gets a very measly pay working for that crazy church, so I know poverty already and I’ll stay with you even if you ever lose your job.”

“Thank you, Anna, you’re very special to stay with me.”

“Because I love you, Grayson!”

“And I love you too. You have added so much value to my life just in the few days I have known you.”

Both began to heavily pet and kiss each other until a classmate of Anna’s showed up and began to make trouble.

Tauntingly, the girl walked up to Grayson’s truck and said, “Look at little miss Charlene Church, she finally has a boyfriend.” She paused and then continued, “I think I’m going to tell your parents about him, I bet they won’t like it.”

Grayson whispered to Anna, “Do you know this nasty thing that
walked up here?”

Anna replied, “That’s Andrea Graves. Many guys think she is hot. She’s always so mean to me.”

“I don’t like her at all and I wish she was gone.”

The girl began to fondle her breasts through her tank top and finger her genitals through her biker shorts in front of Grayson and Anna.

Grayson began to lose his temper and said, “Why don’t you get
lost?”

“Don’t be so rude, you know I could do so many things with you that I bet Anna Ryan would never ever do.”

Even angrier, Grayson continued, “You, are a nasty little skank. Furthermore, I love Anna with all my heart and I would never cheat on her.”

“There must be something wrong with you.”

“Yes, I guess I have a low tolerance for hateful and fake people.”

“I’m not that bad once you get to know me.”

“I don’t want to get to know you. Now kindly leave.”

“Maybe I don’t want to. It’s a free country after all.”

“That doesn’t give you the right to harass me or Anna.”

The girl then dropped her sunglasses, then turned her backside
towards Grayson and bent over to pick them up.

Grayson shouted, “I don’t want to see your nasty, stinky, venereal disease-ridden body parts, so please quickly pick those sunglasses up and go elsewhere.”

“I was hoping you’d like the view, but maybe you need your eyes and head examined.”

“Not in your wildest dream, I don’t want you. I only want Anna,
period! And if you don’t leave us alone, I’ll call the cops on you.”

“My family knows the police chief, the cops won’t do me anything.”

Anna was now extremely irritated and then said, “Don’t I have to deal with you enough at school? Why don’t you go screw some jock or something.”

“Maybe I want your man?”

“You can’t have him.”

“How are you going to back that claim to him up? I mean I could easily kick your butt if I wanted to.”

Grayson was completely fed up at this point and pulled his shotgun out of the storage box in his truck bed, pumped it, pointed it at Andrea, then said, “If you lay one finger on Anna, you will have many new holes in your body for all the boys to play with. That is if you indeed survive.”

“Okay, I’m going. You don’t have to be such a douche bag.”

Anna told her, “He’s not a douche bag, he just loves me. You
aren’t loved, you’re just screwed.”

“This isn’t over. Your man cannot protect you when you’re at
school.”

Grayson said, “God will protect her though, and by the way, that’s Someone Whom you should consider allowing in your life because you obviously need Him, whether you admit it or not.”

“There is no God!” Andrea shouted, then finally left.

Grayson picked his gun up and locked it in the storage box.

He then looked at Anna soberly and said, “I’m sorry you had to see me act that way, but I couldn’t allow her to harm you.”

Anna replied as she rubbed the hairs on Grayson’s chest, “You
don’t have to apologize for anything. You just chose me over whom many think is the hottest girl in the whole school. I feel on top of the world.”

“You’re so much more beautiful than her, both inside and out.”

“Grayson, you’re definitely making me want to commit that sin with you, more than ever.”

“Sorry.”

“Don’t be. You just turn me on so much.”

A towboat pushing a barge loaded with offshore drilling rig parts slowly passed by.

Both watched, amazed by the size of the equipment.

“That machinery you see there is going out to sea, to help drill for oil and gas which fuels the country,” Grayson explained.

“We would ride our bikes to church and had to cross this canal and my dad would get so angry when the bridge was out to let the boats pass because we would be disciplined for being tardy at church services. My mom would always complain about the deckhands and say how they were awful men and try to hide me from them. Sometimes they would even pray that all these industries would fail,” Anna replied.

“Wow, that Darryl Crocket sure did a number on your parents. Maybe your church should move to a better location or better yet shut down. Yes, some of those deckhands are a little wild, but most of them are hardworking young men and sometimes women who want to provide a better life for their families. And if these industries fail, like your parents pray for, I would have to move elsewhere to find employment.”

“I would go with you, if you have to move.”

“I’d be heartbroken if you didn’t.”

“Rest assured, Grayson, I want you forever!” Anna said as she
kissed him.

Grayson kissed her in return.

Their kissing became sweeter and more passionate as they lay in the bed of the truck.

The captain of the boat sounded the horn, in response to witnessing them making out, which startled both Grayson and Anna.

Both giggled to each other afterward.

The temperature began to rise until it became hot.

Anna breathed heavily being clad in thick denim overalls.

Grayson looked at his watch. It was now 1:30 PM.

“Would you like to go to the library, where it’s cool?”

Anna nodded.

They climbed out of the bed of his truck, then Grayson opened the door for Anna.

She stepped into the passenger seat then kissed him affectionately.

Grayson then climbed into the driver’s seat and they headed to the library.

They walked through the automatic doors and were hit by a blast of cold air.

Grayson and Anna both set their smart-phones to vibrate only mode.

They walked around the library and Anna curiously looked at all the items on display.

They came to the romance novels section where Anna sat down and began to read them.

“These give me much inspiration for my writing, even though I was always forbidden from reading them,” She said.

“Well, enjoy them as much as you wish,” Grayson replied.

Grayson sat next to Anna and read the daily newspapers.

Afterward, he went to the historical section of the library and
looked up some literature on the beginnings of the Port of Melody, his employer.

Hours past as they sat together and read.

It was now 4:55 PM and it was announced that the library would soon be closing.

“Would you like to get something to eat, Anna?”

“I learned how to make Shepherd’s Pie the other day in FACS class. Could I make you some?”

“Sure, that would be nice. I didn’t realize you could cook.”

“Oh, yes. I was expected to be a housewife, so naturally, I was
always taught how to cook.”

“Well, then we’ll go to The West Side Grocer and get what we need.”

Anna smiled and said, “Let’s go.”

Grayson walked Anna to his truck then opened the door and helped her in.

He then got in on the driver’s side and started the engine.

They drove to The West Side Grocer.

Upon arrival, Grayson helped Anna out of his truck, then they took a shopping cart and entered.

Once again, they were hit by a blast of cool air as they walked
through the automatic doors.

“What do we need to make shepherd’s pie?” Grayson asked.

“Three large potatoes, a stick of butter, an onion, corn, carrots,
green peas, ground meat, broth, Worcestershire sauce, shredded Cheddar Cheese, salt and pepper.”

“I think we can get all of that here. I’ve already got salt and
pepper at my cabin.”

First, they went to the produce section and got the potatoes and onion. Then they went on the aisles and got the broth and Worcestershire sauce. They walked to the back end of the store to get the ground meat, then to the dairy to get the butter and cheese. Finally, they went to the frozen foods section to get the carrots and green peas.

Suddenly, Anna became highly distressed.

Grayson could see Anna was visibly upset and asked, “Baby, what’s the matter?”

Anna pointed further down the freezer cases and said, “Look over there Brother Darryl’s wife is in this store, she is getting collard greens for the church dinner tomorrow. If she sees me with you, she’ll make a scene.”

“I’ll protect you.”

“She’s whipped me when I was younger and she carries a gun in that big purse of hers.”

“Do you think she would actually shoot us?”

“Me, maybe. You, definitely, for taking me away from the church. She thinks she’d be doing ‘The Lord’s Work.'”

“We’ll have find a hiding spot, then. God, I feel so weak, but all
I have is my Snap On pocket knife and my Pelican penlight. They’re no match for a pistol of any caliber. If only I had my twelve gauge shotgun with me like earlier today.”

“Don’t worry about feeling weak Grayson, because I want you to be safe so you can be by my side forever. Besides, I want to have you alive and kicking on our wedding night.”

“We need to pray that God protects us.”

Both silently prayed, holding hands.

A stocker came walking up to them and said “I overheard your conversation. I’ll be glad to hide both of you in the warehouse until that woman leaves the store.”

“Couldn’t you get fired for bringing us back there though?”
Grayson asked.

“It wouldn’t matter, I hate this God awful job anyway. Just follow me.”

The three walked to the warehouse. The stocker pulled out his
penlight, a AAA Mini Maglite LED, to light up the darker areas.

“I carry one like that too, but mine is a Pelican,” Grayson said,
pulling his out.

“My girlfriend bought it for me. I always have it on me because it reminds me of her.”

“I got mine at a gun and knife store, while on vacation earlier
this year.”

“So what does this dangerous woman look like?” The stocker asked.

“She’s tall, black and heavyset. She has a greyish-white wig and glasses. She is carrying a large brown purse and is wearing a purple dress,” Anna replied.

“I’ll call my friend in customer service to have the cart pushers
let me know when she leaves the store.”

The stocker pulled his cell phone out of his pants pocket and
placed the call.

Grayson and Anna listened.

“Hey.” “I have a young couple with me who feel threatened by a
suspicious customer. They know she’ll make trouble with them, so I have them hiding in the warehouse. She’s tall, black and heavy with a
greyish-white wig, glasses and wearing a purple dress. She has a large brown purse and in that purse is a pistol of some sort, so don’t engage her, just have the cart pushers let you know when she is off the premises, then tell me.” “Okay, thank you very much.” “All right, bye.”

The stocker then looked at Grayson and Anna and said, “They’ll let us know when she’s gone and you can shop safely again.”

“You don’t know how we appreciate this,” Anna said.

“Yes, thank you very much, sir. I have a twelve gauge in my truck, but it’s not like I could use it to protect myself in here.”

“How do you know this woman?”

“I don’t know her as of yet, and Thank God!” Grayson said.

“I’m the one that knows her,” Anna replied, then continued, “I
used to go to church with her. You know the crazy Pentecostal church where the members must dress a certain way, can’t drive cars, can’t own cell phones and other crazy rules. My boyfriend rescued me from that church and my abusive parents and that is why that woman would want to harm him. She beat me, too, when I was younger.”

“I know all about that church. The members shop here all the time, I cringe whenever I have to wait on one of them.” He paused then said, “If I could have any job, I’d be a writer, but I cannot get my foot in the door and I have to take care of my girlfriend, so I keep this job.”

“I once wrote a story about a young couple like that, where the young guy keeps a God awful job so he can take care of his girlfriend,” Anna said.

“And I once wrote a story about a couple very similar to both of you, where a young man rescues a young lady from an abusive church. That is the main reason why I wanted to help you two,” The stocker replied.

“Do you read your stories to your girlfriend?” Grayson asked.

“Of course I do and she loves them.”

“Anna reads her stories to me as well.”

“Do you like it when she reads them to you?”

“Absolutely. She is a literary genius. I mean, if her stories can
keep the full attention of a simple dockyard mechanic like me, she must be doing something right.”

“Oh, Grayson, you’re making me blush!” Anna said.

“My girlfriend tells me that too, all the time. She usually says
afterward though that it is a wonderful feeling. And she is so cute when she blushes. I love her so much and I am so blessed to have her in my life.”

“You said ‘blessed’ instead of ‘lucky.’ Tell me are you a
Christian?” Anna asked.

“I am. But I could be so much better than where I am now.”

“Well so could we, but remember we’re not perfect, just forgiven.”

“What about your girlfriend; is she saved?” Grayson asked.

“I’m not sure.”

“Try to talk about it with her gently. If you love her, then
you’ll want her to be saved as well.” Anna added in.

“Okay, I will tell her. But if she rejects The Gospel, which I
fervently pray she won’t, I will still want her and I don’t care if I am unequally yoked because I love her that much.”

“We’ll definitely pray for you and for her,” Grayson said.

“Maybe there could be a double wedding, Grayson and I along with you and your girlfriend.” Anna said.

“I’ll have to buy her a ring, which I don’t make enough money to
buy one. She always says that her dad can help me become successfully published,” The stocker replied.

“Well, either which way, let’s all keep in touch. I figure you and
I could be friends and Anna and your girlfriend could be friends. What is your name, anyway?”

“Garth Cooper.” The stocker replied.

“And your girlfriend’s name?” Anna asked.

“Samantha Abbott.” The stocker replied again.

They exchanged phone numbers and then there was a bit of silence.

Suddenly the stocker’s phone rang.

“Hello”. “Okay, I’ll let them know.” “Thanks for helping me.”
“Okay, bye.”

“That awful woman has left the premises. Both of you can safely resume your shopping.”

“Thank you for protecting us,” Grayson said.

“It was my pleasure. You know it’s much better than stocking dry goods all day and into the night.”

He then escorted Grayson and Anna back onto the sales floor, then shook both their hands.

“I think we have all we need, right?” Anna said.

“One more thing, 2 Liters of Wild Cherry Pepsi, to drink with dinner. Would you also drink that or is there something else you would like for me to buy you?” Grayson said.

“Some sweet tea would be fine.”

“Is Brisk okay?”

“Sure.”

“Then I’ll get 2 Liters of Lipton Brisk as well.”

“Thank you, Grayson.”

“Anything for you, Anna.”

Grayson and Anna walked to the soft drinks aisle and placed the bottles in their cart and then they walked to the cashier to check out.

Soon all of their groceries were bagged and Grayson paid with his debit card.

They walked out of the store and to Grayson’s truck. Grayson opened the doors and both he and Anna placed the groceries behind his seats. He then helped Anna into the passenger side and closed the door. He then entered on the driver’s side and started the engine.

As they drove back to the cabin, Anna said, “I hope the dinner comes out all right. It was pretty good in FACS class.”

“I think you’ll do fine and if not, I’ll just get us takeout of
some kind.”

“You’re so sweet, Grayson. Most of the men at my church beat their wives if they ruin dinner.”

“Anna, not only do I love you, but I also revere you, and would never do such a thing,” Grayson soberly replied.

“Both my parents beat me and other church members beat me in the past as well.”

“As long as I can help it they never will again. If they do,
though I have something in the storage box of my truck and another one in my nightstand drawer to deal with them.”

“You don’t know how they would retaliate though and they would probably have you arrested too.”

“Why can’t they just leave you alone?”

“It’s because they love power, not God. They especially love power over other people and when they lose any amount of that power, they get very vengeful.”

“Should we be worried then?”

“I am very worried about what stunts could be pulled. But I love you and would rather be with you, no matter what drama happens.”

“I love you too, Anna and if I wasn’t driving on a major
thoroughfare, I’d kiss you.”

“I can kiss you though.”

Anna pecked Grayson multiple times on his bearded cheek, then she rested her head on his shoulder until they arrived at his cabin. Grayson got out of his truck, then helped Anna out of it as well and took the groceries as they walked into Grayson’s kitchen.

Grayson then asked Anna, “Would you like me to help you prepare dinner?”

“That would be nice. Most of the men at the church I used to go to would sit in their recliners and demand that their wives prepare dinner without lifting finger.”

“I don’t ever want to be like them. What can I do to help?”

“Well, you could dice the potatoes.”

“I”m on it, Anna.”

Grayson began to dice the potatoes as Anna placed the ground meat in a skillet. She then placed the ground meat on the stove and turned a burner on.

As Anna saw the blue flame ignite, she said, “When we lived in the city, we had a gas stove. I had forgotten how easy it is to cook on one.”

“Yes. I subscribe to gas for my water heater and stove.”

“Well there is an electric stove in my parents” trailer and not
only does it take forever to get hot, half the burners don”t work.”

“Well for cooking and having hot water, I wanted gas, but for the central heat and dryer, I wanted electric because it”s easier to fix plus I don”t have to worry about Carbon Monoxide poisoning.”

“You know how to fix your heater and dryer?”

“Yes. A friend of mine taught me.”

“How do you know him?”

“He frequently comes to the dockyards where I work. He’s got a lot of time on his hands because despite having two trade school diplomas can”t get a job to save his life.”

“How come?”

“He”s got mental issues like me but worse off to where his condition and it definitely requires medicine. The medicine he takes disqualifies him from just about every job worth taking, so he”s able to get disability, thank God.”

“How old is he?”

“I think he made thirty this year. Why do you ask?”

“Because, I have a female cousin who is like that, maybe they would make a nice couple. She lives in the city and is twenty-three-years-old.”

“Would her parents act like yours?”

“No. In fact, when my parents told Darryl Crockett about her, he said she was demon-possessed. They then tried to convince her parents to take her off her medication. When they listened to the psychiatrist instead, of demanding a miracle from God, Darryl Crocket forced them not to talk to that part of the family anymore. It’s a shame because I really miss that part of the
family.”

“Well now that you have a smart-phone, maybe you could look them up on Facebook.”

“Yes. Maybe I’ll friend suggest my cousin and your friend to be
friends on there as well. What is his name?”

“Aron Mahler. You realize he was recently divorced. Maybe she wouldn’t want him.”

“I think it would be all right. From what I heard she was engaged, but to someone who constantly two timed her. Would he do that to her?”

“I doubt it with all my being. He was cheated on as well because he couldn’t properly provide for his wife. But then again she wanted more than he could afford. What is her name?”

“Ilyssa Gilbert.”

“And she wouldn’t think he is too old for her?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Okay because he has been hurt enough in his life.”

“She wouldn’t hurt him, she just wants to be loved.”

“That’s what he wants as well. Now the potatoes are done. What do you need next?”

“We need to boil and mash them.”

“Okay, I’ll get a pot of water going.”

“And I’ll check on the ground meat.”

Grayson drew some tap water from his sink into a pot along with the potatoes then placed it on a burner and turned it on.

Meanwhile, Anna saw that the ground meat was almost completely browned.

“Do you have a thermometer?” She asked.

“Yes. It’s in my kitchen gadgets drawer.”

“Where’s that?”

“The drawer near the window. There’s a weather radio above it.”

Anna looked around in the drawer until she saw a Taylor kitchen thermometer in a blue sleeve.

“This is it, right?” She asked.

Grayson looked at it and said, “It sure is.”

“I believe 160 degrees is the safe temperature for cooked ground meat. Let’s see if the thermometer reads that.”

Anna took the pot off the fire then placed the thermometer into the center of the ground meat. The needle began to move. It finally stopped around 162 Degrees. When checked several other spots. The needled didn’t go below 160 degrees.

“Now as soon as the potatoes are done boiling we need to add salt pepper and butter then mash them.”

Grayson looked at the pot saw that the water was at a rolling boil.

Anna placed a fork through one of the potato cubes.

“Just a few more minutes,” She said, “In the mean-time, I could teach you how to peel and cut the onion.”

“Anna please don’t think that I am using you to learn how to cook to impress other girls and women, because I only want you.”

“I didn’t even think that, so don’t worry, Grayson.”

“Okay, just making sure you know how much you mean to me.”

“I think I do,” Anna told him with a kiss.

She then showed Grayson how to peel and dice the onion.

Afterward, they took the frozen peas and carrots out of the bag and combined them with the Worcestershire Sauce, the diced onion and ground meat.

Meanwhile, Grayson checked the potatoes and realized they were now soft from the boiling.

Anna strained then added butter and mashed them.

She then placed the meat and vegetables in a pan, then placed the mashed potatoes on top of them. She then sprinkled some shredded cheese on the very top of the dish.

“Now, all I need to do is preheat the oven to four hundred degrees and once that temperature is reached, bake the dish for thirty minutes,” Anna said happily.

“Well I’ll cover the pan and set it on the counter until the oven reaches four hundred degrees,” Grayson said, then continued, “Why don’t we snuggle on the sofa and wait, the oven will beep when it’s ready.”

“Good deal,” Anna said as she set the oven then they went sit down in the living room.

A few minutes passed by, then the oven beeped indicating that it was ready to cook the meal.

“I’ll put it in, you’ve done plenty already,” Grayson said.

Anna smiled and kissed him.

Grayson placed the pan in the oven, then closed the door.

He then went back to sit with Anna on the sofa.

“How can we time it for thirty minutes?” Anna asked.

“I can use the timer feature on my G-Shock,” Grayson replied.

“Good, because I don’t want the dish to burn.”

“I’m setting it right now.”

Grayson set his watch to go off in thirty minutes, then he and Anna sat on the sofa and watched the end of the local news.

“After we started going to Brother Darryl’s church, my parents got rid of their TV.”

“Well, I’ll admit that there is a lot of anti-Christian content on television, but it does keep me entertained and informed. I only got cable because it comes bundled with my home phone and Internet service.”

“It’s been years since I watched any TV, let alone cable.”

“Well here, you can watch whatever you want,” Grayson said as he handed Anna the remote.

Anna flipped through the guide feature until she saw that The Notebook was playing.

“I was always curious about that movie. Brother Darryl sure preached several ear fulls about how sinful it is.”

“Well I always wanted someone to watch those kinds of movies with, but I never did until you came into my life.”

“Let’s watch it as dinner cooks then we can also watch it as we eat.”

“Good idea.”

Together they watched The Notebook, already in progress.

“Noah definitely reminds me of one of the characters in the stories I write. I think he looks like you as well, but you’re cuter than him, Grayson.”

“What’s really amazing though is that you look like Allie, but much prettier!”

“You’re making me want to commit that sin with you, Grayson.”

“But dinner would burn.”

“True.”

They held each other on the sofa as they watched the movie.

Soon Grayson’s G-Shock beeped, indicating that dinner was ready.

They both walked to the kitchen and Anna removed the baking pan.

She served both herself and Grayson.

Grayson then poured their drinks.

They took their plates and walked back into the living room to continue watching The Notebook.

The movie had their undivided attention as they ate and even after they finished eating.

Grayson and Anna set their plates on the coffee table and then fell asleep in each other’s arms.

Back to “The Textfile”

Part 3-The Textfile

FRIDAY
Around five O’Clock in the morning, she came to, then went to the bathroom to relieve her bladder.

She saw her phone still in her underwear as she pulled it down and sat on the toilet.

She read the messages from Grayson while doing her business.

Frantically she texted to him, “Grayson, I am so sorry I didn’t reply to you and I know you must be worried sick. Please know that I still love you and want you more than ever. My dad punched me in the head yesterday afternoon and I blacked out. Thank God he didn’t find my phone because I hid it in my panty. I dreamed many beautiful dreams about you while I was knocked out. I will call you as soon as I am at school.”

Grayson was slowly waking up as he heard his G-Shock alarm go off.

He was suffering from a hangover but managed to read the message on his phone.

“Oh, Anna, I’m overjoyed that you still want me, but I fear for your life. If your dad will harm you like that, then you need to get out of that house and come stay with me. You don’t have to sleep with me if you don’t want to, I just want you to be safe.”

“Yes. I want to live with you as well, I’ll be safer with you and not to mention we love each other. We can discuss it further when I arrive at school and I can talk to you on the phone.”

“Oh, Anna, I love you so much! I’ll take a personal day because I am hungover anyway. When you didn’t reply to my messages, I drank a whole bottle of Crown Royal and I am going through a hangover. If only I would have known you were hurt, I would never have drunk that whiskey.”

“Will you be sober enough to drive by a quarter to three this
afternoon?”

“Yes. I don’t have any more alcohol in my cabin and I won’t buy
anymore, at least until this situation is neutralized.”

Grayson then called Mr. Jed McGregor,

“Hello.”

“Hey, Mister Jed, it’s Grayson Thomas. I need to take a personal day today. I’ll be rescuing my girlfriend from her parents and church, so I need to prepare myself for this.”

“That’s fine Grayson, you haven’t taken a personal day in over six months, so I understand.”

“Thanks.”

“Anytime.”

They then hung up.

Grayson brewed some coffee and prepared his breakfast, then ate.

Anna was still in the bathroom when her mom banged on the door and shouted, “You’ve been in there too long. Now get ready for school.”

Anna simply complied with her mom’s orders, then went to her bedroom and changed her clothes. At once, she hid her phone in a secret compartment of her school bag and also placed her personal hygiene items and a few of the valuables she had from her childhood in there as well.

Afterward, Anna retrieved all of her composition books and flash drives with her writings on them, then mounted her bicycle and left for school.

She arrived, after cycling through the exhaust fumes and dust, then went into the girl’s bathroom and called Grayson.

He picked up his phone after just one ring and answered, “Hey Anna, are you all right?”

“Yes. I am okay, for now.” She paused and then asked, “Are you still serious about me moving in with you?”

“Serious as I’ll ever be.”

“Good, because I’ve realized that I could die if I continued living with my parents. It was when dad punched me in the head and knocked me out, that I realized how bad of a situation I am in.”

“Well, you can stay with me up to and including forever if you wish.”

“I will indeed stay with you, but I know my church members are going to make a lot of trouble with us.”

“I’ll do my best to protect you from them.”

“I love you, Grayson.”

“I love you too, Anna.”

“I have no money and I wasn’t able to take any clothes with me, except for the ones on my back.”

“That’s all right, I’ll buy you some clothes. My paycheck was direct deposited today anyway.”

“Can you buy me some sexy clothes?”

“I’ll buy you modest clothes for when you are out in public, but I’ll also buy you some sexy clothes for when you are alone with me.”

There was an awkward silence but then Grayson said, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to be controlling.”

“No, it’s all right. I understand. You’re the only one I want to
lust after me anyway.”

“Believe me, I already do.”

“I know you do and it’s totally cute.”

“Do I ever turn you on?”

“All the time. In fact, it would be a serious sin if I described to
you the dreams I had about you last night.”

“I understand.”

“One day, though we will be married and I will want to live out those dreams!”

“Your wish will then be my command, Anna!”

“I cannot wait until then. I know I’ve only met you not even two
days ago, but you seem so wonderful to me.”

“And I am so blessed to have found you. I will love you until
the day I die!”

With that, the morning bell rang.

Anna said, “I have to get to class now, but know that I love you,
Grayson.”

“I love you too, Anna. Do you want me to pick you up and thus begin our new life?”

“Most assuredly, yes I do!”

They then hung up.

Anna went to class and Grayson began to prepare his cabin for Anna.

He cleaned it up, then took his desk and chair and placed it in front of his balcony. This, he felt, would be the place for Anna to write. He then prepared his guest bedroom for Anna as he truly revered her and was willing to save the carnal relations for marriage. Afterward, he cleaned his cabin as best as he could, because it would no longer be his bachelor pad, but also the home of the girl he loves.

Meanwhile, Anna was taking her Family and Consumer Sciences class where she was learning how to cook fried chicken. This came very easy to her because one of the few useful things she learned from the other women at the Pentecostal Assemblies Church was how to fry a chicken for Sunday dinner. Anna impressed the class with her skills, though she remained humble. How she wished Grayson could eat that chicken, greatly enjoy it and fall for her even more. At lunch, she didn’t have any money and wasn’t able to eat, so instead, she sat down in the library and wrote a fantasy that entailed her and Grayson on an exotic adventure. She wrote until the bell rang, then went to her Advanced Math class. Anna tried to pay attention because she was already doing poorly. Her parents didn’t mind her low grade in that class because they saw it as useless. They expected her to just be a housewife anyway. Anna much preferred English but knew she needed the class to graduate. She fervently prayed for just a passing grade. Finally, there was English Literature, the last class of the day. Anna’s teacher continued on the works of Byron as they covered his work, Don Juan. Anna was again reminded of Byron’s death at a young age and thought she too would die because of her perceived rebellion, but also realized that maybe her parents and church members were wrong and she wasn’t so rebellious.

Finally, the dismissal bell sounded. Anna went to the front of the school, pulled out her phone and called Grayson.

After only one ring, he answered, “Hi Anna.”

“Hey, Grayson. Can you come to get me from school and take me to your place?”

“Sure thing, Anna!”

“I can’t wait to see you.”

“Well, I’m coming right now and I’ll be there in about five minutes.”

“I’ll be waiting in the front.”

“Awesome. I love you, Anna!”

“I love you too, Grayson!”

Anna stood by the bicycle rack and unlocked her bike. She then stood there waiting for Grayson.

Mrs. Barabara McGregor came out of the student office and spoke to her, “Are you waiting for Grayson Thomas to come and get you?”

“I sure am.”

“Do you need to use the phone to call him?”

“No ma’am, he bought me a phone to keep in touch with him.”

“Wow, that was kind of him.”

“It sure was.”

“Could I meet him?”

“Sure.”

“I’ve heard my husband speak highly of him many times and I know you’re a very sweet girl, so I think y’all will make a lovely couple.”

Anna blushed then said, “Thank you!”

“Well, it’s the truth.”

Anna and Mrs. Barabara talked until she saw Grayson’s truck pulling up.

Grayson parked his truck then took Anna’s backpack and bicycle and placed them in the bed of his truck.

He then said, “Anna I would love to kiss you so much right now, but I don’t want to get us in any trouble.”

“I understand.”

Mrs. Barabara then said, “So you’re Grayson Thomas. I heard a lot of things about you.”

“Nice things I hope.”

“Nothing but nice. My husband is your boss and of course, Anna is one of my favorite students.”

“Well, Mr. Jed is a great guy to work for. He taught me so much and he is very understanding of my condition. You see, I frequently suffer from depression.”

“Well, Anna thinks the world and the moon of you.”

“And I love her with all my heart. She is a tremendous blessing to me.”

Anna then blushed and softly held Grayson’s hand.

Mrs. Barbara continued, “I want you to know, that both of you are in my prayers and I want you to take good care of her.”

“I greatly intend to. She has brought so much happiness into my life. Thank you for your praying because I know we will both need a lot of prayers right now.”

Anna was filled with several urges to hug and kiss Grayson but knew she couldn’t on school property.

Mrs. Barbara looked at Anna and said, “Well I have to get back to my office, but both of y’all stay true to each other and love each other.

Grayson and Anna nodded.

Mrs. Barbara went back inside then Grayson opened the passenger door for Anna and helped her in.

He then walked to the driver side, got in and started his truck.

They left the school and Grayson asked Anna, “What would you like to do?”

“I just want to be able to relax. Maybe later you could take me
out.”

“Then let’s relax together. Afterward, we can go out, because it’s Friday.”

With that, they drove to Grayson’s cabin. Upon arrival, they went up to his bedroom.

Awkwardly, but lovingly they stared at each other, then the bed, until Anna spoke, “I know it would be a serious sin, but I could see us making love.”

Grayson held Anna’s hands, then said, “I would want that too,
don’t get me wrong. But I also want our relationship to be right in
God’s eyes.”

“You being a godly person turns me on even more, though.”

“We need to pray for an escape route from our temptations.”

Both silently prayed.

Suddenly, there was a knocking on Grayson’s door.

Both went down to answer.

It was Grayson’s mother, Katherine Thomas.

“Is this a bad time, Grayson?” She asked.

“No, not at all. In fact, mom, this is Anna Ryan,” Grayson said
as he proudly showed off Anna to her.

“Well, she sure is pretty. You have good taste.”

Both Grayson and Anna blushed.

She continued, “I was wondering if you could take a look at my
car, it’s starting to leak oil badly.”

“Sure thing, ma. Just let me get my tools.” Grayson then walked to his closet.

She looked at Anna then said, “My son is a real handy-man, he’s always fixing people’s vehicles.”

Anna simply nodded, nervously.

Grayson came out with his tool satchel, then said, “Where’s your car at, ma?”

“It’s in my driveway. I drove it home but the oil light keeps coming on. I bought several quarts of oil just in case.”

“I’ll get to fixing it right away if I can,” Grayson said,
walking to his mother’s house.

“Awesome. I have to open my antique shop tomorrow morning and I am expecting a huge crowd.”

“Say no more, I’ll do my best to fix it.”

The three walked to Katherine’s car and watched Grayson as he raised the hood.

He saw lots of oil leaking around the oil filter.

“I think I know what is wrong,” He said.

“Pray tell me what is it?”

“Your oil filter is on loosely.” Grayson paused, then said, “Did
you recently have an oil change?”

“Yes, a week or two ago.”

“That’s your problem, whoever changed your oil didn’t tighten the filter on all the way. I can fix that though in a couple of seconds,” Grayson said, with his filter wrench in hand.

He tightened down the filter wrench, then asked, “Where’s your extra quarts of oil?”

“On the floorboard by the back seat.”

“I’ll top it off then and your car should no longer leak.”

Grayson then poured two quarts of oil into the engine, wiped down the starter then started the engine.

The car turned on perfectly with no lights on the instrument panel activating.

“Good as new for now. Next time you need an oil change let me do it instead.”

“Thank you, Grayson. Are you an Anna going out tonight?”

“Yes, later tonight.”

“Then have a good time and be sure to treat Anna right because she seems like a wonderful young lady.”

Both blushed.

“And come to my house for Sunday dinner.”

“Will do.”

Grayson and Anna walked back to the cabin, hand in hand.

Anna whispered to him, “I don’t know what is more sexy about you, the fact that you’re kind and help your mother or watching you fix that car.”

Grayson blushed, then kissed her lovingly.

They arrived at the cabin and Grayson asked Anna, “Do you still want to go out?”

“Most definitely.”

“Then let me get cleaned up and I will take you shopping for some fashionable clothes and then a nice dinner.”

“You really would?”

“Of course, you’ve made me happy, so now it’s my turn to make you happy.”

“Oh, I love you, Grayson.”

“I love you too, Anna!”

They sweetly embraced and kissed, then Grayson said, “You take a bath, then I’ll take one to get the oil off of me.”

Anna nodded, then walked to Grayson’s bathroom.

She took off all of her clothes, then drew the warm water. At last, she felt at peace and realized there would be no more getting beat for this or that. She cleaned herself, then lay in the water fantasizing to herself about Grayson. Afterward, she got dressed and came out.

Grayson went in and bathed. He too fantasized many fantasies about Anna while bathing. After he was clean, he dried off, trimmed his beard and combed his hair. Covered in a towel he walked to his bedroom and got dressed.

After he came out, he asked Anna, “Are you ready?”

“Yes. Let’s go.”

They walked to his truck and he helped her in. Then he got in the driver seat and they began to ride to the mall.

As they were driving, Grayson told Anna, “Though I think you are sexy in those plain denim skirts, I know you hate them and tonight is the last night you’ll have to wear them.”

Anna smiled from ear to ear, then held Grayson’s hand.

Soon they arrived at the mall and entered into Dillard’s.

With arms on each others’ backsides, they rode the escalator to the third floor, not knowing they were being watched and followed. Upon arrival on the third floor, there was some lingerie on display. Both were looking at it.

Anna finally said, “Wouldn’t I look sexy in these panties?”

“You’d look sexy in anything you put on. Or you’d be sexy in
nothing at all!” Grayson replied as he kissed her. Anna kissed him in return.

The kisses grew more passionate. They were followed by a strong embrace and them rubbing each others’ faces and hair.

Suddenly they heard a loud, confrontational voice, “Anna Ryan, what do you think you are doing?”

Anna whispered to Grayson, “Oh no, it’s Darryl Crocket. I
recognize that voice from anywhere.”

An overweight black man stepped out from hiding and continued yelling at them, “First you missed the youth service, now you are fondling some heathen in public? It’s going to stop this instant. You’re coming with me right now!”

“She’s not going anywhere.” Grayson said angrily,
then continued, “Your church is a cult, brainwashed by your unsound doctrine.”

“Shut your mouth and stay out of this, boy, or I’ll smack you
silly.”

Grayson grew even angrier, “You’re going to smack me? Just try it! If you do, I’ll kick the crap out of you then call mall security and let them know about you’re attempted kidnapping. Wouldn’t the press have a field day: a preacher arrested for battery and attempted kidnapping! Whatever happened to turning the other cheek? Go ahead preachy, give me your best shot!”

“Okay, you might be able to turn our godless authorities against
me but you cannot turn God against me! You are going to have to answer to God for taking Anna away from my church and you Anna are going to lose your salvation for leaving my church and your judgment will be even worse.”

Grayson then said, “Your judgment is going to be the worst of all. You are a false teacher, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, just like those mentioned in Hebrews and Jude. You’ve been marked out for destruction a long time ago, but Anna will no longer suffer as a result of your wrongdoing. Now either you leave us alone or I will call mall security.”

“Believe what you want, you worthless heathen, but you are going to pay big time for turning Anna against us. I’m leaving for now and you may have won the battle but not the war.”

Darryl then left and Anna began to have a panic attack. She started hyperventilating and crying. Grayson took her by the hand and then they went down the escalators to the first floor and sat down on a bench.

Grayson tried his best to comfort Anna as he kissed her softly and petted her face.

Anna finally caught her breath, then said, “That church is going to make so much trouble with us, oh you don’t even know what we’ve gotten ourselves into.”

“It can’t be that bad and if it is, I’ll just have to call the
cops.”

Anna sat next to Grayson with her head on his chest and they lovingly held each other on the bench.

Finally, Anna calmed down and kissed Grayson once more.

He asked her, “Are you ready to go shop for some clothes?”

“Yes. Let’s go.”

Grayson and Anna walked back into Dillard’s and they both began to look at the women’s clothes.

After Anna selected and tried on several outfits and undergarments, they checked out and left the store.

Then they went to Forever 21 and Grayson said, “We can shop here to get you some more casual clothes.”

Anna nodded, then they looked around. Grayson bought Anna some tee shirts, a pair of overalls and shorts.

After leaving Forever 21, Grayson said, “You must be hungry, let’s go eat at the bar and grill where we first met.”

“Yes, I am hungry. Let’s go.”

Grayson walked Anna to his truck, then helped her in. He then got in on the driver’s side then started his engine.

They drove to the bar and grill and Grayson parked his truck.

He then got out and helped Anna out of the passenger side.

They walked in and were given a booth to sit in.

The bartender noticed Grayson and asked, “Are you going to drink some Budweiser tonight?”

“Not tonight. I’m hauling precious cargo.”

“Wise choice.”

Grayson and Anna looked over the menu at all the entrées.

“I know what I want, buffalo chicken wings.”

“I think I’ll have a salad, I want to keep a girly figure.”

Grayson looked Anna directly in her eyes and then said, “I’m in
love with your soul, not just your body and I would still want you no matter what size.”

“I know I’ve found someone wonderful. You’re so sweet to tell me that, but still, I’d like to stay in shape at least for myself.”

“Just know that I’ll love you no matter what.”

They shared a sweet, intimate kiss.

Moments later the waitress arrived. She and Anna exchanged a wave, then she began to take their order.

“Hi, I’m Abbey. I’ll be your waitress tonight. What can I get
y’all to drink?”

“Wild Cherry Pepsi,” Grayson said.

“Sweet tea,” Anna added.

“Do y’all know what y’all want to eat?”

“Yes,” Grayson said.

“All right what can I get for you?”

“Buffalo chicken wings, extra spicy,” Grayson said.

“And for you, Anna?”

“House salad.”

All right, coming up.”

After the waitress left, Grayson asked Anna, “Do you know her?”

“Yes. That’s Abbey Sloane. She is in my F.A.C.S. Class. She’s one of the few students who don’t harass me.”

“Okay, I was just making sure she wasn’t one of your crazy church members.”

“Our church forbids women and girls from working outside the home. That’s messed up because I truly want to be a romantic novelist.”

“Hey, you’re with me now and I will support you in any career you choose! I just hope that you don’t choose a career that makes you think you’re too sophisticated for a simple dockyard mechanic like myself.”

“Don’t ever worry about that, Grayson. I see how kind you are and how you are willing to take care of me at this very low point in my life, so rest assured I won’t ever forget that. If anything, you’ve inspired me to write many wonderful stories and all of my good characters will be based on you. I just haven’t had the chance to write them down.” She paused then continued, “You know what else if I ever become famous, I’ll want you right there by my side, inspiring me!”

“Oh, Anna I love you so much. I always thought that I would die a lonely old bachelor, probably from liver cancer, but because of you, I’m seriously considering to give up the bottle altogether! It won’t be easy, but I know that until you are comfortable enough to be able to drive, I’ll have to drive you around, which means I must be completely sober because your safety is more important to me than temporarily killing the things in my life that give me grief.”

“Grayson! I love you too! No one has ever been so sweet to me as you. I feared to be in an arranged marriage to some cold-hearted wife beater. I was so afraid of having to sleep with a man like that night after night and popping out child after child, then spend all my free time working for that miserable church. You’re drinking is not that bothersome to me, but if you’re willing to give it up, then I’ll be there to help you give it up. I can see a bonus to you giving up the alcohol and that is, you’ll be able to love me, as in the way I am so desiring you to love me, for many more years down the road.”

“How do you want me to love you?”

“Well right now it would be a serious sin if you did what I want you to do, but if we got married we would be allowed to do it all we wanted. Not only that, God would require us to!”

“I see what you’re saying. Well, you know I would definitely put a ring on your finger, not just so I can make love to you, but because I want you with me for the rest of my life.”

Both Grayson and Anna brightly blushed afterward.

There was an awkward silence as they held hands and lovingly smiled at each other from ear to ear.

The waitress then came with their drinks.

“Sweet tea for Anna.”

“And Wild Cherry Pepsi for you, I’m sorry I don’t know your name, but I go to school with your girlfriend.”

“I’m Grayson Thomas.”

“Well be sure to be good to Anna and treat her right. She has a
lot on her plate.”

“I’ll try my very best. This establishment you work for might lose a little money though, because for her sake, I’ve decided to quit drinking, but I’ll still take her eat here all the time.”

“Well, we’ll look forward to seeing both of you, then.” Abbey
paused, then looked at Anna and said, “Don’t let this one get away, no matter what stunts your parents or church try to pull because he’s a keeper!”

“I know he’s a keeper and he reminds me of all the good characters in the stories I write.”

Abbey looked at Grayson and then said, “She writes the most
awesome stories, so take that as a high compliment that she thinks you’re like the good characters she creates.” She paused then continued, “Your meals should be out shortly. Is there anything else we can get you while you wait?”

“Just please keep our glasses full,” Grayson said.

“Will do,” She said, then left.

Grayson looked at Anna, then said, “I guess it’s better to be
addicted to soft drinks instead of hard drinks, because soft drinks won’t impair my judgment or coordination.”

“They might make you gain weight, but then that would just be more for me to hold at night.”

Both blushed again, then Grayson said, blushing even more, “Well once we’re married, I’ll have a means for burning off those excess calories.”

Anna giggled and their lips met. They shared a sweet kiss, then Grayson took a big sip of his Wild Cherry Pepsi.

Anna took a few sips of her sweet tea.

Grayson then asked her, “Do I really remind you of the good
characters in your stories?”

“You sure do. There was one character I created, who dressed just like you were dressed the day we met, but he was an artist. There’s another character I created who was a tractor mechanic, which you are a mechanic, but in the dockyards. Then I created another character who was a drunk, but a fun drunk not a mean one and I created him, I guess out of rebellion because my parents and church are so strict. I created this fantasy world to escape what was a cruel reality to me. The weird part
is, it’s like you came to life from my creations.” She paused and then continued, “Pinch me to wake me up just to make sure I’m not dreaming.”

“I’m not going to pinch you, Anna. I don’t want to hurt you.”

She got up from her chair, stood next to Grayson, then turned her backside to him and said, “Just give me one quick pinch on my butt to wake me up and make sure I’m not in a dream.”

She then pushed her backside in his face and said, “Please do it.”

“Very well, Anna.”

Grayson nervously placed his thumb and index finger on her
buttocks, through her thick denim skirt and softly pinched.

Anna then said, “What do you know, I didn’t wake up. This is
better than any dream.” She paused, turned to face him and then said, “Now you better give me a kiss since you touched my butt!”

“I’ll gladly kiss you.”

Their lips locked as Anna sat on Grayson’s lap.

Moments later Abbey came out with their food.

Grayson and Anna both blushed until their faces were like beets.

“Glad y’all are having fun, but your food is ready.”

They were served the plates of food and Abbey topped off their
drinks as well.

They began to eat, smiling affectionately at each other.

Grayson gave a few chicken wings to Anna and Anna gave some tomatoes and carrots from her salad to Grayson.

They drank down their drinks and finished off their meals.

Grayson paid and tipped Abbey, then walked Anna to his truck.

He helped her in and she deliberately swung her out legs to flash him.

Grayson was extremely turned on and said, “What we both want to do may be a serious sin, because we’re not married, but I am so grateful right now that God is a merciful God.”

He then entered the driver’s seat and started his truck.

He drove Anna to his cabin, then got all of her purchased items out of his truck.

They walked into the front door, then each went to separate
bathrooms to relieve themselves.

After they were done, both came out and Anna asked, “Do you have a computer? I would like to read some of my stories to you, if that’s all right.”

“Sure, in fact, I took the day off to prepare my cabin for you and
my computer is in the room that is next to the balcony, so you’ll have a great view to help inspire your writing.”

“That was sweet of you, Grayson, you went above and beyond.”

“Well, you deserve above and beyond!”

Grayson pulled up a chair and gave Anna the swivel chair and said, “Read to me. I cannot wait to see what you have created!”

Anna plugged her flash drive into the computer and began to read story after story to him.

Both felt very drawn to each other and grew closer after each
story.

Soon they were both too sleepy to keep their eyes open.

Anna yawned and stretched as she said, “I would love it so much if we cuddled in each other’s arms tonight.”

“I don’t think I would have it any other way,” Grayson lovingly
replied.

“One thing, though, you forgot to buy me some nightclothes.”

“You could wear one of my tee shirts and your panties to sleep in.”

“Ooh, I’d like that very much.”

Grayson pulled one of his tee shirts from his dresser and Anna
removed her skirt.

“Since I am in my underwear, you should be too, Grayson.”

“Very well, Anna!” Grayson said as he took his pants off and
placed his phone and penlight on the night table.

With that Grayson lowered his climate controls to 63 Fahrenheit, put their phones on to charge and they went to sleep in each others’ arms. Their slumber was that of peace and bliss.

Back to “The Textfile”

Part 2-The Textfile

THURSDAY
It was now Five O’Clock in the morning and Grayson’s G-Shock began to beep. He stepped out of bed, walked into his bathroom and got ready.
Soon enough he had showered, dressed and groomed his hair and beard. He took his penlight off the night table and clipped it into his pants pocket. Grayson then walked into his kitchen and ate a bowl of instant oatmeal and milk along with a glass of orange juice.

As he sat down and ate breakfast, he pondered about Anna and how he wished that she could be his. What brought so much frustration and anxiety about the situation was that he had no way to contact her. He hoped and prayed that she would make a way to call him. After he finished eating, he prepared his lunch, two turkey breast sandwiches with Watercress Lettuce and Creole Tomato slices, two Twinkies and two cans of Wild Cherry Pepsi then placed all of it into his Igloo Play Mate cooler.
Grayson then brushed his teeth and afterward went to his bedroom and retrieved his phone, then walked out of his cabin and locked the door. Grayson fired up his trucked and headed across town to the dockyards, arriving fifteen minutes ahead of time.

The sun was almost completely up as Grayson sat in his truck and prayed that he would have a chance to see Anna again. After getting into heated and fervent prayer, Grayson looked at his G-Shock and realized it was now time to clock in. He stepped out of his truck and walked to the office, scanned his badge and clocked in. Grayson then walked to the mechanical facilities and began his work.

Meanwhile, Anna was rudely awoken by her mom.

“Get up right now Anna! You have school.”

Anna stretched and yawned, then remembered all that had happened the previous night, still dressed in her day clothes. She went into the bathroom with a fresh set of clothes and undressed. The slip of paper with Grayson’s phone numbers fell to the floor and she quickly retrieved it. Anna then bathed while fantasizing about Grayson, then dried off and got dressed. She stepped into a fresh panty, then a fresh brassiere,
placing the slip of paper in it. Finally, she put on her skirt, slip,
stockings and blouse. Anna then went into the kitchen and ate a bowl of bran flakes with skim milk. After she finished her bland breakfast, she brushed her teeth and put on her shoes. She then walked out of the trailer and got on her bicycle and headed to school.

As she was beginning to pedal, her dad spoke, “Just remember, God can see everything you do and He will tell Brother Daryl everything. If our family gets any church discipline because of anything you do, you will get the beating of a lifetime.”

Anna nodded, sulked, the headed to school. She rode through all of the exhaust fumes and dust but made it. Upon arriving, she locked her bicycle, then sat outside the student office and waited until seven-thirty for it to open. She sat on the bench anxiously and kept looking at the clock on the wall. Once again, she began to fantasize about Grayson. She lapsed into a half-trance and smiled widely as her imagination ran wild about all the things she wanted to do with Grayson.

When the lights were switched on, Anna snapped out of her trance as she saw the secretary, Mrs. Barbara McGregor, open the door. She pulled the slip of paper out of her brassiere then walked towards the office door.

Anna walked into the office, and asked, “May I use the phone.”

“Sure thing, sweetie.”

“Thank you so much.”

Anna smiled brightly, then dialed Grayson’s cell phone number.

It rang twice, but then Grayson finally answered, “Hello?”

“Hey, Grayson. It’s me, Anna Ryan.”

“Oh. Hi, Anna. It’s so nice to hear your voice again.”

“Can you talk right now?”

“I’m at work, but I can take a coffee break.” He paused, then
continued, “Where are you calling me from?”

“The student phone at school.”

“Oh, okay.”

“My parents were very hard on me last night after they found out about you.”

“I hope you still want to be with me.”

“Of course I do. You know they beat me, for going out with you, but it was worth it.”

“You know you are eighteen and you can press charges on them for that.”

“I could, but then God would punish me.”

“I doubt that seriously. Yes, you should honor your parents, but the Bible also says they shouldn’t provoke you to wrath and they do. They shouldn’t try to keep you from being happy, either. I mean do I even make you happy?”

“Yes, you definitely do. In fact, you’ve made me happier than I’ve ever been, even in the short amount of time that I’ve known you.”

“You make me happy too. I just thought I would go to work, then get off and drink myself into oblivion, then repeat it all every day until I retire or die.”

“Why do you drink?”

“It takes away the sting of loneliness.”

“I can’t imagine why someone as cute as you would be lonely?”

“I guess I rub people the wrong way.”

“Well, rest assured, I want you.”

“And I want you. I wish we could be together without all of this
drama.”

“We will one day. I just have to get away from my abusive parents and controlling church members.”

“You could come and stay with me.”

“I would want to, but, as soon as everyone in my church found out where you lived, they would try to block your driveway, shout scripture in front of your house and God only knows what else.”

“Then I would dial 911 if they try any of that.”

“They’ll scream persecution-they do it every time they don’t get their way.”

“And I’ll scream trespassing not to mention disturbing the peace. I’ll call up the Melody PD and have every last one of them arrested.”

“You don’t know the trouble you would bring on yourself.”

“I know it would be worth it if it meant we could be together.”

“I wish we could just be together, like any other young couple.”

“We will one day.”

“And I wish you were holding me right now.”

“As do I, Anna.”

Other students walked in needing to use the phone so Anna said, “Hey, I’m sorry, I have to go. Others need to use the phone.”

“That’s all right I have to get back to work anyway. I can’t wait
until we meet again.”

“Hopefully soon. I have to go now.”

“Okay, call me when you can.”

“I sure will. Bye for now, Grayson.”

“Bye, Anna.”

Anna went to a secluded location on the school grounds and sat down fantasizing about Grayson. She lapsed into a trance until the morning bell rang.

Anna headed to her first class of the day, Family and Consumer Sciences. She hated that class because, while her church dictated that she must be a housewife, Anna truly wanted to be a romance writer. The class’s assignment was to learn how to cook Shepherd’s Pie. The only reason Anna paid attention was that she thought maybe one day she could make it for Grayson. At the end of the period, the meal was done.

Meanwhile, Grayson walked back into the shop and saw two forklifts that needed maintenance. Immediately, he retrieved his tools and began working on them.

He worked throughout the morning, tinkering and troubleshooting the defective engine on one of the machines, until finally, he caught the problem, with a little help from the shop foreman, Mr. Jed McGregor. Diligently he worked until the engine ran like new. He then began working on the second forklift which was less trouble. Finally, it was the hour of Noon. Grayson clocked out to eat lunch.

As he began to eat his first sandwich, his mom, Katy Thomas, called him on Skype.

“Hi. Grayson, I’m just wondering why you didn’t come to get any dinner at my house last night?”

“Sorry, Ma. I was on a date with a young lady.”

“Oh. Who is this lucky girl?”

“Anna Ryan.”

Katy looked puzzled and said, “I don’t know of any Ryans around here.”

“That’s because her family attends that crazy Pentecostal church. You know; it’s the one where they can’t drive cars or use cell phones.”

“Oh, yes. I’ve heard about them. How old is she? Because if she is underage, they will look for a reason to incriminate you.”

“Don’t worry, she’s eighteen.”

“Still, be careful. They can be very vindictive.”

Grayson pulled his Snap-On pocket knife out, clicked it open and said, “Wait, let them try something.”

Katy got slightly angry and then said, “What and then you would go to prison? Would it be worth it?”

“Anna is worth it and more.”

“I want to meet this girl that has you head over heels.”

“I’ll try to have you meet her as soon as I can.”

“Good. Now, why don’t you finish your lunch so you’ll have the
strength to do your job.”

“Right, ma.”

“I have to get back to running the store anyway, so I’ll see you when I see you.”

“Sure thing, ma.”

They both signed off on Skype.

Grayson finished off his first turkey sandwich, wolfed down the second and guzzled a can of Wild Cherry Pepsi.”

Afterward, he clocked back in and went to the shop.

There was a dockside truck that required servicing parked outside of the shop.

Mr. Jed McGregor walked up to Grayson and said, “The old girl’s engine is acting up again. Let’s see if we can correct the problem for good this time.”

“Yes sir, I’m on it,” Grayson replied.

Both walked up to the truck and began troubleshooting.

They opened the hood and Jed McGregor started the engine.

There were several loud popping and banging sounds.

“Probably needs a tune-up, I’ll have to do the same for my truck shortly.”

“Okay, then put in all new spark plugs, wires, and an ignition coil.”

“Yes, sir. Will do.”

“After you finish, you may go.”

“Awesome!”

“You seem to be in a good mood, better than usual.”

“Well let’s say my lips have been touching the lips of a young lady instead of just the neck of a Budweiser.”

“That’s good. I didn’t want to say anything, but you need love in your life. Who is the girl?”

“Anna Ryan.”

“Ryan…Ryan…Doesn’t ring a bell. Is she from around here?”

“Yes, as far as I know. Her family attends that Pentecostal Assembly Church.”

“Oh, yes. That place is a cult. Be careful with those people, they are trouble. Some of them are roustabouts and longshoremen in these very dockyards.”

“I’m well aware, but for her, any trouble would be worth it.”

“Sounds kind of serious.”

“Well, I’ve never felt this way about anyone else and Lord knows I’ve had some feelings for others. They just never reciprocated them.”

“I think she will do you a world of good by giving you love and stability. You could do her good too by rescuing her from that cult.”

“Bingo! I just need to convince her to leave her parents and church no matter what stunt they try to pull.”

“Yes, that’s the hardest part, but my wife and I will pray for you.”

“Thanks, Mr. Jed.”

“Anytime. Now, why don’t you get that engine running nicely again.”

“Yes, sir!”

“Come get me if you need any help.”

“Sure thing.”

Grayson walked to the supply room and retrieved a new ignition coil, eight spark plugs, and eight wires. He then got to work on the dockside truck. He took out the old spark plugs then installed the new ones. Afterward, he wired them and mounted the ignition coil. With fingers crossed, he closed the hood and started the engine. With the truck in the Park position, he pushed the accelerator pedal to which the engine ran
smoothly.

“Praise God, it works now!” Grayson shouted at the top of his lungs.

He then drove the truck back to the docks and told the dock foreman, “It’s fixed. At least for now.”

“Good work, Thomas.”

Grayson then walked to the shop where he cleaned his tools then calibrated his instruments. It was now getting on two in the afternoon so he clocked out and drove to his cabin. While driving he ate both of his Twinkies and guzzled down his second can of Wild Cherry Pepsi. Finally, he arrived at his cabin and suppressed the urge to drink any alcohol, just in case he would have to drive to meet up with Anna.

Meanwhile, Anna was sitting in her English 4 class, the last class of the day. They were studying the works of George Gordon Byron. Anna snickered as she knew her parents and church members would be furious if they knew what was being taught to her in school. She took in great interest as the teacher read, “She Walks in Beauty.” Anna thought about the previous night of her and Grayson on the balcony. The teacher went on to lecture about Byron’s short but scandalous life. Anna began to tremble, as she was taught all her life that sin will ultimately lead to death. She became distressed, but still desired Grayson and knew her feelings for him were valid and genuine. Finally, the dismissal bell blared.

Anna walked down to the office and again asked Mrs. Barbara for the telephone.

Mrs. Barbara handed her the base and handset and Anna placed the call to Grayson.

The ring signal sounded only once, but then Grayson answered,
“Hello.”

“Hey, you!” Anna said.

“I missed you today.”

“I missed you too and thought about you, a lot.”

“You’re still at school I gather because you’re calling from the same number as before.”

“You gather right. I was hoping we could meet up again today.”

“It’s a date. Where can I pick you up?”

“Right here at school, I guess.”

“Good, then I’ll come right over.”

“Awesome I can’t wait to see you.”

“Neither can I.”

“Then, I’ll be there in about five minutes.”

“I’ll be waiting. Now I have to go.”

“Okay. I’ll see you at school. Bye Anna.”

“Bye Grayson.”

They both hung up and Grayson left his cabin, then started up his truck. He headed for the school. On the drive, Grayson pondered to himself, whether he should buy a cell phone for Anna so she could keep in touch with him covertly.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Barbara looked at Anna and said, “Sounds kind of serious between you and whomever you’re talking to.”

“I hope it is,” Anna replied.

“Is he good to you?”

“He’s very good to me.”

“What’s his name?”

“Grayson Thomas.”

“I think there is a young man by that name who works under my husband at the dockyards.”

“That’s him, then, because that’s where he works.”

“I’ve heard many good things about him, except that he’s had a lonely life, so please don’t break his heart. I don’t know if he could take it.”

“I’d never dream about it. Everyone at school is mean to me, and I cannot stand my parents or those at my church, but Grayson, he’s something else.”

“You’re eighteen right?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, good, because if you weren’t you could be putting him in a world of trouble.”

“I’m more worried about what people at my church are going to do to him, once they find out we’re together.”

“That bad?”

“Beyond bad!”

“Well, my husband and I will be praying for you and him.”

“Thanks.”

“Now why don’t you go wait outside for him.”

“Will do.”

Anna walked out to the bicycle rack just as Grayson was pulling up in his truck.

Grayson parked, then walked up to Anna and hugged her. He then lifted her and spun her around as she wrapped her legs around him.

Passionately they kissed, until the school resource officer shouted, “Cut that crap out right now!”

Neither wanted to get in any trouble, so they complied with the
policeman’s orders.

Anna unlocked her bicycle, then Grayson put it in the bed of his truck. He then opened the truck door for Anna and she climbed in.

Afterward, Grayson entered his truck on the driver’s side, started it and they left.

“How would you feel about me getting you a cell phone?” Grayson asked Anna.

“I don’t know, isn’t that part of the anti-Christ system?”

“No. The only way I could see that would be if the SIM card was
placed in your right hand or forehead, but it isn’t.”

“Where is it placed?”

“In the back of the phone near the battery.”

“Oh okay.”

“You could keep in touch with me whenever you wish and as long as you can keep it secret from your parents, they’ll never find out. You can even send me text messages or emails and even browse the Internet to help you with your schoolwork.”

“That would be neat because my family computer is horribly out of date and my parents track everything I look at on there.” She paused, then continued, “But what if it rings or beeps?”

“You can set it to silent or vibrate to keep it more covert.”

“There’s a sneakiness about you, but it’s totally hot.”

“I don’t mean to be sneaky, I just want to be able to contact you and I am willing to go great lengths to do so.”

“It shows how you’re dedicated to me and that means a lot.”

Grayson smiled and blushed, though his beard concealed most of it. Anna held his hand and leaned against him.

There was a silence, but then Grayson asked, “So, will you be all right with me getting you a phone?”

“Yes. Yes, I would.”

“Great then let’s go to the Best Buy Mobile store in the mall.”

“Sure,” Anna replied, hesitantly.

Grayson switched lanes then turned onto the road that led there. Soon they entered the mall parking lot and Grayson parked his truck.

He stepped out of the driver side, then walked to the passenger side and opened the door for Anna. She deliberately swung her legs out and allowed him to right see up her skirt, to which he became immensely aroused.

Grayson blushed brightly and Anna giggled.

Afterward, they passionately hugged and Grayson lifted her out of the truck and they walked into the mall.

Hand in hand they looked at all the shops until finally coming to the Best Buy Mobile store.

They entered and were greeted by a saleslady.

“How may I help y’all today?” She asked.

“I’d like to add another phone line to my AT&T Prepaid plan-it’s for my girlfriend,” Grayson replied.

“Well, that is sweet of you. Let’s look at the available phones we have.”

“I don’t need anything fancy, just something that can call and text,” Anna interjected. She paused then continued, “Besides if my parents find it, they would probably take it from me and flush it down the toilet.”

“Good point,” Grayson said, then told the saleslady, “Her parents are abusive and controlling and I’m getting her this phone so she can covertly keep in touch with me.”

The saleslady looked at Grayson and said, “You better be careful then because you can catch a contributing charge and possibly other serious charges if you buy her a phone without her parents’ permission.”

“Not so, ma’am; she’s eighteen,” Grayson replied.

“Well, in that case, I have a few phones to choose from.”

“Don’t spend too much on me Grayson, in case my parents find out and destroy the phone,” Anna interjected a second time.

“I’ll try not to,” Grayson replied.

“What we have available, that is cheap is an LG flip phone, the B470 for $24.99, but it is difficult to text and the web browser is very limited.”

Anna looked at Grayson and nodded.

Grayson, whispered to Anna, “I want to get you something better, so you can do your schoolwork and look up whatever you want online without your parents knowing.”

The saleslady continued, “There’s the ZTE Maven 3, which is an entry-level smartphone, it’s $39.99.”

Grayson replied, “No way. I’ve had a previous version of the ZTE Maven and it would call random people without me commanding it to. I’ll be willing to pay a little extra and not have to put up with those quirks.”

The saleslady then said, “Well, for $46.99 I have a Samsung Galaxy Express 3 on clearance.”

“I currently use a Samsung Rugby Smart. I just put my Prepaid SIM card in it, so I can have cheaper rates.”

The saleslady looked at Grayson and said, “Smart thinking,” then showed the phone to Anna and asked, “What do you think?”

“Sure I guess. A phone is a phone, to me.”

“Yes, but you’ll be able to get on the Internet to do your school
work and use social media in addition to keeping in touch with your boyfriend, who obviously adores you.”

“All of that makes me nervous, but I am willing to try,” Anna
admitted sheepishly.

“Then let’s get this activated on my account,” Grayson said.

The sales lady sold them the phone and a prepaid card to which Grayson paid with his debit card. After the transaction was approved, the saleslady activated Anna’s new phone and Grayson programmed her new number into his phone. Anna also programmed his number into her phone.

They walked out of the store and Grayson asked, “Would you like to eat something?”

“Sure,” Anna said hesitantly.

“How about some corn dogs?”

“Okay, that would sound nice. My parents never buy any junk food.”

“Say no more.”

Hand in hand they walked to the food court and ordered two large deep-fried corn dogs and two large Cherry Cokes.

Happily, they ate until Grayson’s G-Shock beeped, indicating 4:00 PM.

“What time is it?” Anna asked.

“Four,” Grayson replied.

“That’s usually the time I arrive home on my bicycle-but I have to use the bathroom first.”

“I’ll escort you to the ladies room and wait outside, but then I’ll
take you home if that’s what you want.”

“It’s not what I want, but I have to do it to keep my parents off my back.”

“I wish you could spend more time with me, but I’m very grateful for the little bit of time we can spend together.”

“You’re very sweet, Grayson,” Anna said as she kissed him then
continued, with slight distress, “Now I have to get to a bathroom because my bladder can’t hold it anymore.”

Both Grayson and Anna blushed brightly as they walked to the
restrooms.

“Be right back,” Anna said as she kissed Grayson again, then entered the ladies room.

Grayson stood outside and several news articles on his phone while waiting.

He stared at his phone until Anna came out of the bathroom covered his eyes and playfully said, “Guess who?”

“Is it the beautiful Anna Ryan?” Grayson asked.

“You win!”

“What do I win?”

“A face full of kisses!”

Anna then pecked Grayson’s face multiple times, then they
passionately embraced.

“I wish this moment would never end, but don’t you have to be home?” Grayson asked.

“Yes, you better take me home, but I’ll miss you so much.”

Hand in hand they walked out of the mall and to Grayson’s truck.

Grayson opened the passenger door for Anna and helped her in. He then walked to the driver’s side, entered and then started his truck.

For the entire ride, they held hands in silence. All to quickly they arrived at the street on which the Ryans’ trailer was located. Grayson got out of his truck, helped Anna get down then lifted her bicycle out.

Sadly but passionately they kissed goodbye.

“Call me whenever you safely can,” Grayson said as he held Anna.

“I’ll try my best,” Anna replied as she kissed him one final time,
then mounted her bike and left.

Grayson drove off to his cabin.

Upon entering, he went upstairs and took several shots of Crown Royal.

Meanwhile, Anna peddled her bicycle down the street until she arrived at her parents’ trailer.

She locked her bicycle then walked up the steps, nervously, wondering if anyone from church saw her in public with Grayson then told her parents or pastor.

She opened the screen door then the wooden door and her parents were sitting in the living room reading newspapers.

“Get started on your homework, Anna!” Her mother sharply said.

Her dad looked at his watch and said, “You’re late.”

Anna fabricated a half-truth and said, “I had to use the bathroom very badly, so I stopped at the mall and relieved myself there.”

Her mother then remarked, “Shopping malls are worldly and sinful places-you know you’re not supposed to go there.”

“All I did was piss there that’s it.”

“Hey! Hey! Can’t you speak like a lady? If I hear you use that
language again, I’ll smack that piss-as you refer to it out of you!” Her dad said, angrily.

“But that is what it is called in the Bible, is it not?” Anna
replied.

“If you keep being smart-aleck and talking back, I’m going to beat you again like I did last night. Now go to your room and hit the books.”

Anna rolled her eyes, then went into her room. There was no lock on her door, so she wondered how she could secretly communicate with Grayson without the risk of her parents barging in and catching her doing so.

She then placed her cot against the door with her book bag on top of it, then hid in her closet, closed the door and texted Grayson.

“Hey, you!” She sent out.

“Oh, Anna I’ve missed you so much already,” Grayson replied in a matter of seconds.

“What you’re doing right now?”

“Just laying down-I took several shots of whiskey.”

“My parents would be so livid if they knew how you drink. Of course, they’d be livid if they knew I was talking to you right now, anyway.”

“I know I shouldn’t drink, but it’s the only way I can deal with
life.”

“I’m not judging you for drinking, Grayson. I fully accept you for
who you are.”

“You’re so wonderful, Anna!”

“You’re making me blush!”

“Hey. Did your parents find out that we were together today?”

“So far, not yet. But if someone from church saw us together in
public today, we’re screwed.”

“Not necessarily. You are of age; you can move in with me and then your parents would never be able to hit you again.”

“But cohabitation is a serious sin.”

“I know it is, but what I feel for you is very valid and very real.
I’m not trying to rush into things, but I would marry you in heartbeat. That’s how I feel about you, plus our relationship would then be right in God’s eyes. It’s totally up to you though, ultimately.”

“Well, you’re much more dreamy than any of the men at my church. You’re also very kind and thoughtful. I could see myself marrying you. It’s just my parents and church members wouldn’t stand for it because they would claim how I am unequally yoked.”

“But you’re not unequally yoked-I too am a believer and have been for five years. I know I’m far from perfect, but I also know that I am saved and therefore a genuine believer. Of course, your church thinks they are the only true Christians, but that’s not the case.”

“I knew you were a believer. I knew ever since you taught me about how the ten commandments were not guides to save yourself but proof that you cannot save yourself. It’s convincing my parents and church members that you are a genuine believer.”

“That’s right, only Jesus saves. I don’t need to convince them
though, God knows my heart that’s what’s important.”

“How did you become saved, anyway?”

“A family friend saw I was suffering from severe depression as a teenager, so he presented me the Gospel. I believed right then and there. He then offered me a job as a mechanic’s helper in the dockyards as soon as I graduated high school. I don’t take antidepressants or any other medications because they are extremely unhealthy and would greatly hinder my job performance. Instead, I turn to alcohol, mostly beer and whiskey only during my off-hours. It tempers the sting of my depression. My boss doesn’t exactly agree with it but accepts it because I use it as basically a cheaper and safer alternative to medicine. I also keep my drinking and my work completely separate.”

“What makes you so depressed?”

“I was harassed a lot in school. People also spread false rumors about me. I think it’s made me a better person overall though.”

“Yes, you have a wonderful heart, that’s for sure. And I know what that’s like, I get harassed all the time because of the way I am forced to dress. I’m sure people spread rumors about me as well.”

“I don’t see why they would harass you, those skirts are so sexy on you!”

“You just like looking up them; don’t think I haven’t noticed!”

“Yes, I’ll admit it, I did see up your skirt a few times, please forgive me for that but I’m only human. I’m sorry if I angered you by doing it.”

“You didn’t anger me, you only made me feel pretty and wanted. I like how you’re so honest with me.”

“I learned this a long time ago; honesty is the best policy.”

“Well put.”

“So, how did you get saved?”

“I was twelve years old and we went to a different church-a wonderful church, with a wonderful pastor. On one Sunday morning, he was preaching and it seemed as if the message was just for me, I realized I was a sinner and that I needed Jesus to take my sins away. I walked to the front of the church and got saved that very day. But then, a year later the pastor was murdered while giving a ride to a hitchhiker. After that, a new pastor came in and he caused a lot of division. So the church fragmented and my parents were looking for a new church to go.
One day, we met this joke of a pastor, Brother Darryl Crockett, at a restaurant. He sweet-talked them, then brainwashed them and even convinced them to move to Melody. They sold their house in Blues City, gave most of the money to this church and then bought a run-down trailer and a cheap lot in Melody with the rest of the money and that’s where we’ve been staying since.”

“That’s awful. I’m sure the deceased pastor has a huge crown though that he casts at the Feet of Jesus up in Heaven. However, this Brother Darryl you mention, he seems like one of those people that are mentioned in the Book of Hebrews and the Book of Jude as well. He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing and he is misleading many. He is causing many bad things to happen in the Name of Jesus.”

“I know that and you know that. However, my parents can’t seem to figure it out and I bear the brunt of the suffering as a result.”

“Just say the word and I will rescue you.”

“I wish it was that easy.”

“It is, just get on your bike and meet me somewhere and I will take you to my cabin and we can have a life together. You’ll never have to see any of those people again.”

“But Melody isn’t that big of a city; I’m sure I’ll run into them at
some point or another.”

“And if I am with you, I’ll just tell them to stay the hell away. I
can buy you something to protect yourself though, just say the word.”

“That’s very sweet of you Grayson, but you don’t know the trouble you’re putting yourself in.”

“It would be worth all that trouble and more if it means we can be together.”

“Grayson. I know we haven’t been together that long, but I think I’m in love with you. No one has shown such kindness towards me ever, well until you came along. How do you feel, do you love me too?”

“Yes, Anna I do. I’ve been in love with you almost since you let me sit with you in the restaurant. No one else has ever given me the chance to love them as you have. You accept me for me. I would have told you how I felt sooner, but I was afraid of scaring you off.”

“You wouldn’t have scared me at all. You would have just made me feel on Cloud Nine. I’m so happy we feel the same way.”

“So am I, Anna.”

Suddenly, Anna heard her bedroom door open and her cot and bookbag fall on the floor. Hurriedly, she hid her smart-phone in her panty and pretended to sleep on the floor of the closet.

“Anna, where are you? You’re supposed to be doing your homework.” Her dad shouted.

She continued to pretend to sleep.

He flung the closet door open and saw her laying down.

“Get up right now!” He said sharply.

Anna pretended to wake up startled and said, “Oh, it’s you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean, young lady?” Her dad said as he began to undo his belt.

“Nothing,” Anna said.

“That’s what I thought.” He paused, then continued, “What are you doing sleeping in the closet?”

Anna fabricated a quick lie and said, “I was looking for something, but then I guess I fell asleep. I didn’t get much sleep last night since you and mom beat the daylights out of me.”

“If you wouldn’t act like such a brat, you wouldn’t get beaten.”

“How do I act like a brat? Do I use drugs or drink? No. Do I sleep around? No. Do I act up in school? No. Tell me, what wrong do I do?”

“You’re disrespectful and ungrateful. And lately, you’ve been trying to keep company with a heathen.”

“You only think I am disrespectful and ungrateful because you never let me go anywhere except school and church and I resent that. Everyone else my age is going out and having fun and enjoying life. As for the heathen that you call him, I love him and I don’t care what you think of him.”

“Everyone else your age is worldly and therefore hellbound. You can lose your place in Heaven too if you start acting like them. Do you want that?”

“Our old pastor always taught once saved, always saved, and he backed it up with scripture as well, so I won’t lose my place in Heaven.”

Our old pastor was wrong. Brother Darryl is right. I have proof
too, Brother Darryl speaks in tongues, did you ever see our old pastor do that?”

“But what good works does Brother Darryl do? Remember, our old pastor was kind enough to give a hitchhiker a ride and was murdered. Do you ever see Brother Darryl lift a finger to help anyone? All he does is tell everyone what to do and how to live.”

Anna’s dad took off his belt and began to lash her as he spoke, “How dare you question our pastor! I don’t know what has gotten into you, but I am going to beat it out of you, even if it takes me all night to do so.”

“If you hit me with your belt or hand or anything else one more time I am going to call the police and press charges on you. I am a legal adult, therefore you no longer have the right to whip me.”

“Go ahead, just do that and you will surely burn in hell for not
honoring your mother and me.”

“Then by that logic, you will burn in hell for provoking me to
wrath.”

Anna’s dad then punched her in the head, knocking her out. He then left the room.

Meanwhile, Grayson texted her multiple times.

“Anna, are you there?” “Anna please reply to me.” “Anna please let me know you’re all right.” “Anna, I am really worried about you, please answer me.” “I love you so much, Anna and I hope and pray you still feel the same about me.” “Anna, my heart is breaking that you don’t reply to my messages, but maybe you have a good reason.”

It was now about six o’clock in the evening and Grayson drank a whole bottle of Crown Royal and then passed out on his bed.

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